Spanish verb conjugation Present tense: boot verbs

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Spanish verb conjugation

Present tense: boot verbs

Some verbs are irregular, but in a regular way. There is a class of verbs we call “boot” verbs, only because when we chart them in our traditional arrangement of the six pronouns the irregularly changed ones sort of look like a boot!
An infinitive is composed of two parts: the stem and the ending (vowel + “r”). In boot verbs, the stem changes in four of the six positions. In the nosotros and vosotros forms, the stem remains unchanged from the infinitive stem. In all four of the other positions, the stem undergoes a small modification.
In those four cases, the vowel in the next to last syllable of the infinitive form of the boot verb changes. If it is an “o,” it becomes “ue.” If it is an “e,” it changes either to “ie” or just to “i.” Generally the “e” changes to “i” in –IR verbs, and to “ie” in –AR and –ER verbs. But not every time! You just have to memorize which it is.

E changes to IE

example: querer



nosotros / nosotras



vosotros / vosotras


él / ella / usted


ellos / ellas / ustedes


E changes to I

example: pedir



nosotros / nosotras



vosotros / vosotras


él / ella / usted


ellos / ellas / ustedes


O changes to UE

example: recordar



nosotros / nosotras



vosotros / vosotras


él / ella / usted


ellos / ellas / ustedes


You try! (“e” to “ie”) Preferir (to prefer)


nosotros / nosotras

vosotros / vosotras

él / ella / usted

ellos / ellas / ustedes

Some “e” to “ie” boot verbs:

acertar = to succeed in

advertir = to advise, warn

atravesar = to cross, go through

calentar = to warm up

cerrar = to close

comenzar = to begin

confesar = to confess

convertir = to convert

defender = to forbid, defend

empezar = to begin

encender = to incite, kindle, light

encerrar = to lock up, confine

entender = to understand

fregar = to wash dishes, scrub

herir = to harm, hurt, wound

mentir = to lie

pensar = to think

perder = to lose

preferir = to prefer

querer = to wish, want

referir = to refer, relate

regar = to water, irrigate

sentar = to seat

sentir = to feel sorry; to feel

sugerir = to insinuate, suggest

temblar = to tremble, shiver, shake

tender = to extend, offer, spread out

tentar = to examine by touch; to attempt, try

tropezar = to stumble, blunder

You try! (“e” to “i”) Repetir (to sell)


nosotros / nosotras

vosotros / vosotras

él / ella / usted

ellos / ellas / ustedes

Some “e” to “i” boot verbs:

competir = to compete

corregir = to correct

gemir = to grieve; to groan, moan

impedir = to hinder, impede, prevent

medir = to compare, judge, measure, weigh, scan (verse)

pedir = to ask for, request

repetir = to repeat

seguir = to follow, pursue, continue

servir = to serve

You try! (“o” to “ue”) Dormir (to sleep)


nosotros / nosotras

vosotros / vosotras

él / ella / usted

ellos / ellas / ustedes

Some “o” to “ue” boot verbs:

almorzar = to eat lunch

aprobar = to approve, pass a test

colgar = to hang up

contar = to count, relate, tell

costar = to cost

demonstrar = to demonstrate, prove

devolver = to return (an object); to refund; to give back

doler = to ache, pain, hurt; to cause grief, regret

dormir = to sleep

encontrar = to find

envolver = to wrap up

morder = to bite

morir = to die

mostrar = to show, point out

mover = to move; to persuade, excite

poder = to be able to

probar = to test, prove, try, try on

recordar = to remember, recall, remind

resolver = to resolve, to solve (a problem)

revolver = to revolve; to turn around, over, upside down

rogar = to supplicate, ask, ask for, request, beg, pray

sonar = to ring, echo, resound, sound

soñar = to dream

tostar = to toast, tan, roast (coffee)

volar = to fly

volver = to return, go back

Practice makes perfect! Complete the following sentences with correctly conjugated verbs.

Use the charts and lists above to remind yourself of boot verb conjugation patterns.

  1. Yo _____________________________ ir a mi casa después de la escuela hoy. (pensar)

  2. Tú _____________________________ mucho durante el fin de semana. (dormir)

  3. Silvia _____________________________ su jefe por un día extra de vacación. (pedir)

  4. Tomás y yo _____________________________ cenar temprano hoy. (querer)

  5. Vosotros _____________________________ en ganando la lotería. (soñar)

  6. Ustedes ___________________________ el vocabulario para aprender la pronunciación. (repetir)

  7. Muchos pájaros en los Estados Unidos ________________________ sud por el invierno. (volar)

  8. Mi papá _____________________________ hamburguesas y papas fritas por la cena. (servir)

  9. La tierra _____________________________ fuertemente durante un terremoto grande. (temblar)

  10. El jardinero _____________________________ la hierba tres veces cada semana. (regar)


Translate each sentence into English.

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