Spelling Changes in the Preterite

Transcripción

Spelling Changes in the Preterite
The Preterite Tense
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The Preterite is the past action tense. In other words, you can say what Happened or occurred.
The Preterite answers the question ¿Qué pasó? What happened?
The Preterite past tense represents an action that is located in a specific point of a time line and is
considered a completed action.
It also is used for when you begin, finish or become something.
Let's take a look at the basic endings we use when we conjugate verbs into the Preterite.
AR VERBS
ER/IR VERBS
Yo
é
í
Tú
aste
iste
Él, ella, usted
ó
ió
Nosotros
amos
imos
Ellos, ellas, ustedes
aron
ieron
Examples:
Yo
Tú
Él
Nosotros
Ellos
Hablar
hablé
hablaste
habló
hablamos
hablaron
Comer
comí
comiste
comió
comimos
comieron
Vivir
Viví
viviste
vivió
vivimos
vivieron
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The Nosotros form in the Preterite is the same as the Nosotros in the Present Tense
for "-ar" and "-ir" verbs. "-Er" verbs follow the "-ir" pattern.
The Preterite 3rd person plural (ellos, ellas, ustedes) ends in "-ron".
Spelling Changes in the Preterite
Spelling changes in the Preterite occur because the Preterite vowel endings affect the way some consonants
sound.
Remember that in Spanish the G and C have two sounds:
o
o
o
G in front of i and e has a soft English "H" sound: general is pronounced "he-ne-rál".
G in front of a, o, and u has a hard "G" sound (as in "gone", "Gap" or "Gumby"): goma "gomah" .
C in front of i and e has a soft "S" sound.
o
C in front of a, o, and u has a "K" sound .
So how does that affect verbs in the Preterite forms?
Well, let's look at Jugar (to Play). It is a U-->UE stem-changing verb. In the present tense, Jugar conjugates
as
Yo
tú
él, ella, usted
nosotros
ellos, ellas, ustedes
juego
juegas
juega
jugamos
juegan
The g in Jugar is hard, as in the English word `game'.
When we conjugate Jugar in the Preterite following the regular pattern, it should be:
Yo
tú
él, ella, usted
nosotros
ellos, ellas, ustedes
[*jugé]
jugaste
jugó
jugamos
jugaron
But look at the yo form! Remember the Spanish "g" in front of "e" is pronounced like an English "h". So *jugé
would mean the g had lost the hard g (as in "game") sound, and the last syllable would be pronounced like the
English word "hey". To preserve the hard "g" sound, we must add a "u" in front of the "é" to form the correct
Yo form:
jugué
The "u" makes the "g" hard without changing the "é" vowel sound. The spelling changes result from an effort to
maintain the same consonant sounds.
Another example is Buscar. In the present tense, Buscar conjugates as
Yo
tú
él, ella, usted
nosotros
ellos, ellas, ustedes
busco
buscas
busca
buscamos
buscan
The "c" is hard like the letter "k".
When we conjugate Buscar in the Preterite following the regular pattern, it should be:
Yo
tú
él, ella, usted
nosotros
ellos, ellas, ustedes
[*buscé]
buscaste
buscó
buscamos
buscaron
But again, look at the yo form! Remember the Spanish "c" in front of "e" is pronounced like an English "s". So
*buscé would mean the "c" had lost the hard "k" sound, and the last syllable would be pronounced like the
English word "say". To preserve the hard "k" sound, we must change the "c" to "qu" in front of the "é" to form
the correct Yo form:
busqué
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Remember that "qu" in Spanish always makes a "k" sound and never an English "kw" (as in "queen") sound.
Another example is Almorzar. In the present tense, Almorzar conjugates as
Yo
tú
él, ella, usted
nosotros
ellos, ellas, ustedes
almuerzo
almuerzas
almuerza
almorzamos
almuerzan
The "Z" has an "S" sound.
When we conjugate Almorzar in the Preterite following the regular pattern, it should be: (note: no stem-change
in the preterite)
Yo
tú
él, ella, usted
nosotros
ellos, ellas, ustedes
[*almorzé]
almorzaste
almorzó
almorzamos
almorzaron
But again, look at the yo form! Remember the Spanish "Z" occurs only in front of the strong vowels A, O, U.
Think of vocabulary words that end in Z, like the word for pencil, "lápiz". To make it plural we add "es". But the
Z isn't paired with the soft vowels E and I. So we must change the Z to C: lápices. Spanish is very mathematical
and reliable: when there is a rule like the Z to C change in front of the soft vowels, Spanish will always enforce
this change. So although *almorzé technically would have the same pronunication, we have to honor the rule.
We must change the "Z" to "C" in front of the "é" to form the correct Yo form:
almorcé
So all verbs ending in -car, -gar, and-zar will make these changes to maintain their original consonant sound.
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Another group of verbs with spelling changes are Er and IR verbs that have double vowels in their
endings like:
Leer, Oír, Caer:
Yo
tú
él, ella, usted
nosotros
ellos, ellas, ustedes
Leer
Leí
leíste
leyó
leímos
leyeron
Oír
Oí
oíste
oyó
oímos
oyeron
Caer
Caí
caíste
cayó
caímos
cayeron
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Because the "i" is weak in the face of a stronger vowel, it requires an accent mark to give it voice (so
we can hear it).
Note in the third person singular and plural, the conjugation would be (for Leer) *leió and *leieron:
o
Since the "i" is too weak, and as it is an unaccented "i" between two strong vowels, the "i"
changes to the semi-consonant "y" to facilitate the pronunciation.
Stem-changing verbs in the Preterite
Click here to review verbs that stem-change in the Present Tense.
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The most important things to remember about stem-changing verbs in the Preterite are:
o -Ar (e.g., Mostrar, almorzar, pensar) and -Er (e.g., Perder, Tener, entender) verbs that stemchange in the Present Tense do not stem-change in the Preterite.
o
However, -Ir stem-changing verbs (e.g. Dormir, Servir, Preferir, etc.) continue to have stemchanges BUT
 only in the 3rd person singular (él, ella, usted) and plural (ellos, ellas, ustedes).
 They follow the same stem-changing pattern they have in the present progressive
tense ("-iendo"):
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The "O-->UE" stem-changers change to "U" as they did with the "-ing" (-iendo) form:
 Dormir: él está durmiendo, él durmió
 And the E--->IE and the E--->I change to "I" as they did with the "-ing" (-iendo) form:
o
 Servir: Ella está sirviendo cerveza, ella sirvió cerveza
When you see verbs listed in a text book or in a dictionary with vowels in a parenthesis, it shows
the stem-change first in the present tense and second for all other tenses:
 Preferir (ie, i) él prefiere, él prefirió
Yo
tú
él, ella, usted
nosotros
ellos, ellas, ustedes
Dormir
dormí
dormiste
durmió
dormimos
durmieron
Morir
morí
moriste
murió
morimos
murieron
Servir
serví
serviste
sirvió
servimos
sirvieron
Preferir
preferí
preferiste
prefirió
preferimos
prefirieron
Repetir
repetí
repetiste
repitió
repetimos
repitieron
Pedir
pedí
pediste
pidió
pedimos
pidieron
Irregular Preterite Forms
There are a fair number of irregular conjugationsforms in the Preterite. These Irregular forms in the
Preterite are said to have "radical" changes, that is, vowel and consonant changes in the root (or stem of the
verb) so that changes occur in all of the conjugations (including the nosotros form.) These Irregular preterite
changes are NOT for orthographic (spelling) reasons (like the verbs ending in -Car, -Gar and -Zar) nor are the
changes in vowels similar to regular stem-changing verbs which affect certain -Ir conjugations in the Preterite.
Verbs which have an Irregular Preterite form have their own conjugation - different from the established -Ar,
-Er/-Ir Preterite conjugation pattern.
All Verbs with irregular changes in the Preterite follow this conjugation:
-Ar, -Er, -Ir
Yo
-e
Tú
-iste
Él, ella, usted
-o
Nosotros
-imos
1. -ieron
Ellos, ellas,
ustedes
Verbs with a "J" stem
use:
2. -eron
! Notice that these conjugation endings do NOT have accent marks!
Here are some common Irregular verbs in the Preterite:
Yo
tú
él, ella, usted
nosotros
ellos, ellas, ustedes
Andar
anduve
anduviste
anduvo
anduvimos
anduvieron
Conducir*
conduje
condujiste
condujo
condujimos
condujeron
Decir*
dije
dijiste
dijo
dijimos
dijeron
Estar
estuve
estuviste
estuvo
estuvimos
estuvieron
Hacer
hice
hiciste
hizo
hicimos
hicieron
Poner
puse
pusiste
puso
pusimos
pusieron
Poder
pude
pudiste
pudo
pudimos
pudieron
Querer
quise
quisiste
quiso
quisimos
quisieron
Saber
supe
supiste
supo
supimos
supieron
Tener
tuve
tuviste
tuvo
tuvimos
tuvieron
Traer*
traje
trajiste
trajo
trajimos
trajeron
Venir
vine
viniste
vino
vinimos
vinieron
*Irregulars which use a "J" in the Preterite only add "-eron" (NOT "-ieron") to the third-person plural
Other verbs which are irregular in the Preterite
Dar
di
diste
dio
dimos
dieron
Dar is often humorously referred to as the "cross-dressing" verb, because in the Preterite Dar
takes on the -Er/-Ir verb endings rather than -Ar verb endings.
Ver
vi
viste
vio
vimos
vieron
Verbs with only 2 or 3 letters, such as Dar, Ser, Ir and Ver, also do not wear accent marks in the
Preterite.
Ir & Ser
fui
fuiste
fue
fuimos
fueron
Notice that Ir and Ser share the same forms in the Preterite. The context of a sentence or a
conversation will let you know which is being used. For example:
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Fui al supermercado clearly means "I went to the supermarket," not *"I was to the
supermarket."
Most of the time the Preterite form will nearly always be Ir as Ser is usually conjugated in
the Imperfect Past tense.
While there are more irregulars in the Preterite past tense than in any other tense, the good news is that
Spanish makes up for it with a 99.99% regular Imperfect past tense!
Changes in Meaning in the Preterite
Some verbs change their meanings in the past tense:
Verb
Present tense
Preterite tense
Querer
Quiero "I want.."
Quise "I tried to.."
No Querer
No quiero "I don't want.."
No quise "I refused to.."
Conocer
Conozco
"I know someone /some
place"
Conocí
"I met someone (first time)"
Saber
Sé "I know a fact.."
Supe "I found out.."
Poder
Puedo "I can"
Pude "I managed to.."
No Poder
No puedo "I can't"
No pude "I failed to.."

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