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There is a list of stem-changing verbs present in Spanish grammar books:

e -> ie: cerrar, comenzar, empezar, negar, quebrar
o -> ou: acordarse, acostarse, contar, constar, mostrar
u -> ue: jugar
e -> i:  corregir, despedir, elegir, medir

Conjugation examples can be found online e.g.:

e -> ie: cerrar

c[ie]rro    cerramos
c[ie]rras   cerráis
c[ie]rra    c[ie]rran

I found another stem-changing conjugation, which is not present in grammar books as a category:

i -> ie: adquirir

adqu[ie]ro   adquiremos
adqu[ie]res  adquiréis
adqu[ie]re   adqu[ie]ren

Why it is not referred in grammar books as a stem-changing category? Is this an exception?

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Which is the question? – Envite Jun 16 '14 at 14:52
Do you think now the title is more explanatory? I was going to ask if another stem changing group was present in addition to available ones in grammar books – Chesnokov Yuriy Jun 17 '14 at 17:30
If the question is the one on the title, copy it on the body and give a better explanation. It seems that users don't understand it. – JoulSauron Jun 17 '14 at 19:36
It's a weird question indeed... for me, as a native Spanish speaker, this question makes non sense at all. – Eva Thyssen Jun 17 '14 at 21:03
It looks better now. However, I wonder if these all are really in the books. Some of them involve no changing at all: the letters change as a form of avoiding the sounds changing. Example "vencer" with /z/ sound before 'e' uses 'c', but to keep stem sound before 'o' ("venzo") needs letter 'z'. This is not really stem changing, just different letters for the same sound. – Envite Jun 18 '14 at 7:14
up vote 3 down vote accepted

There are three main groups of stem-changing verbs, as you note, they are o→ue, e→ie, and e→i, which are technically o→ue→u, e→ie→i, and e→i→i for -ir verbs.

These came from an evolution of the pronunciation of certain Latin vowel sounds when changing from being stressed and unstressed, and the effect is called alternancia vocálica. Verbs aren't the only thing that do it, incidentally, as evidenced in numbers (siete/nueve but setenta/noventa), superlatives (fuerte but fortísimo), and a handful of other words (hrfano but orfonato).

There are three special verbs (or a few more by changing prefixes) that don't quite follow the standard changes.

They are jugar, cernir, and adquirir. Jugar is unique because the -o- in its infinitive became a -u- over time (compare to Galician xogar).

cernir is unique because, though ending in -ir, the second stem-change does not take place: cierno but cernió (expected but wrong: cirnió), cierna but cernamos (expected but wrong: cirnamos). It could be formally described as a e→ie→e verb along with concernir and discernir.

Adquirir, likewise, is just an exception without much rhyme or reason to it. If I had to take an off-the-cuff guess, it's due to influence from querer. It's also the only one I can think of that does an i→ie→i change (along with inquirir that has the same root).

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