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Preterite Orthographic Changing Verbs: -car, -gar, -zar

In the previous lesson, we learned the preterite for the regular verbs that end with “-ar”. Like I said, once you know the “rule”, it’s always the same for every “-ar verb”, but sometimes, there is an ortographic little change. We are talking about those verbs that end in -gar, -car and -zar, such as jugar, tocar and empezar.

But don’t panic! The following changes ONLY occur in the Yo form:

Verbs that end in -gar change g to gu
Verbs that end in -car change c to qu
Verbs that end in -zar change z to c

With these “new” verbs you will only have to pay attention to that little change in the “Yo” form, as there is no other change in the rest of forms:

Yo -gué/-qué/-cé Jugué Toqué Empecé
-aste Jugaste Tocaste Empezaste
Él/Ella/Usted Jugó Tocó Empezó
Nosotros/as -amos Jugamos Tocamos Empezamos
Vosotros/as -asteis Jugasteis Tocasteis Empezasteis
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes -aron Jugaron Tocaron Empezaron

Easy, right? 🙂

As for the verbs that end in “-er” and “-ir” (click here to check out the “rule”), there are other orthographic changes for some specific verbs: The ones that end in -aer, -eer, -oír, and -oer. This time, the change will be on the “Él/Ella/Usted” form (you will use the ending yó” rather than -ió) and the third person plural that is “Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes”, that will change the ending to “-yeron” (rather than -ieron).

Persona Ending CAER LEER
Yo Caí Leí
íste Caíste Leíste
Él/Ella/Usted -yó Ca Le
Nosotros/as ímos Caímos Leímos
Vosotros/as ísteis Caísteis Leísteis
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes -yeron Cayeron Leyeron

However, now that we thought that there won’t be any more exceptions… I’m sorry to say that this rule does NOT include these verbs: TRAER, ATRAER, DISTRAER. With this ones, the “Él/Ella/Usted” form will end in -jo (IE: él trajo, ella atrajo, usted distrajo) and the “Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes” form will replace the “y” with a “j”: -jeron rather than -yeron (IE: ellos trajeron, ellas atrajeron, ustedes distrajeron). I promise that’s it for the regular verbs 🙂

Share if you found it useful and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions! Also, if you live in Portland (OR), I could be your Spanish tutor 🙂 See you soon.


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