4

As the title says. An "O" before the last syllable (-er or -ir) is often turned into "ue" when conjugating, e.g. puede, duerme, vuele.

Verbs ending in -ar don't: nota, vota, ...

But poner, comer, etc. ends in -er, so why aren't they puene, cueme?

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    Also, note that "vuele" comes from "volar", so some verbs ending with "ar" also change the "o". Soñar > sueño, tronar > trueno. And also with "ir": morir > muero. So the question could be just why sometimes an "o" syllable changes to "ue" in verbs and others don't. – Charlie Apr 4 '18 at 11:52
  • AFAIK this alternation is much more common among -er and -ir verbs, which are also on the whole more irregular. But @Charlie is right. You'll find this outside verbs too (e.g. tiempo vs. temporal). – pablodf76 Apr 4 '18 at 12:41
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    don't expect to apply rules on how to conjugate words in spanish, even for a spanish native speaker, sometimes is hard to find how a words is an specific tense (grab a dictionary) – Mike Apr 4 '18 at 15:05
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    I agree with @Mike. The rule is "there are no rules". Listen and read a lot and you will get it, but don't try to memorize rules. That will only keep you from learning. (my 2 cents) – DGaleano Apr 4 '18 at 18:56
6

The verbs that alternate between o and ue (like the verbs that alternate between e and ie/u) are the result of a phonetic change that happened to the short /o/ and /e/ in Latin as it transitioned to modern languages (the vowels in Latin could be either long or short).

For the most part, if you know the Latin word has a short vowel, you can predict that the change will happen, although it's not a perfect system (correr or responder should change, but don't, at least not in Spanish).

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    lol... expecting to apply rules to know how the words are conjugated, is actually the opposite, you see how they are conjugated to understand their origin, – Mike Apr 4 '18 at 15:03
0

There is a thing called irregularity in languages, that means that some of the members of a group, in this case the group of verbs, don't follow the regular canonical pattern.

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