In class, I have been learning about the preterite tense(past tense). Some conjugations include:

bailar --> bailé(yo form), bailaste(tú form), etc.

Some conjugations are weird...

ser --> fui(yo form), fuiste(tú form), etc.

When should I conjugate these verbs irregularly?

1 Answer 1


There are 3 rules that changes the verb root in the preterite form:

  1. The -car, -gar, -zar rule
  2. Triple vowel rule
  3. Pancake rule

The -car, -gar, -zar Rule (YO FORM ONLY)

So this rule is pretty straight forward. If a verb ends in -car, -gar, or -zar (in the infinitive) then you drop the -car, -gar, or zar. After you drop it, you add -gué, -qué, or -cé (REMEMBER THIS IS ONLY IN THE YO FORM). Example of this: llegar -->llegué(yo form)

Triple Vowel Rule (-ER AND -IR VERBS ONLY)

The Triple Vowel Rule only refers to the él/ella/Ud and the ellos/ellas/Uds. forms. Some verbs have a double vowel in the last 3 letters of the word. Examples: leer & caer. When you have a double vowel(-er and -ir verb), conjugating(él/ella/Ud and ellos/ellas/Uds.) in the preterite becomes more complicated. Normally leer would conjugate to leió in the él form. This creates a triple vowel. To counteract this, exchange the i for a y. leió --> leyó. Another example: Caer --> cayó.


This rule is more complicated and requires the verb to fulfill 2 requirements. The verb needs to:

  1. MUST Be a Boot verb IN THE PRESENT FORM
  2. Be a -ir verb

If only one vowel is changed (In the present form), you keep that vowel in the preterite. Example: in the pedir conjugation, the él/ella/ud & ellos/ellas/uds both keep the vowel "i" (its underlined in red).

If two vowels are changed (In the present form), you keep the first vowel in the preterite. Example: in the dormir conjugation, the él/ella/ud & ellos/ellas/uds both drop the second vowel, and keep the first one(underlined in red).

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