20 Most Common Irregular Verbs in Spanish

Conjugating verbs is arguably one of the most daunting parts of learning Spanish. When it comes to regular verbs, things are quite simple. But, irregular verbs, on the other hand, will have you exercising your memory.

irregular verbs in Spanish irregular verbs in Spanish

So, with so many verbs, which should you focus on? Here are the 20 most common irregular verbs in Spanish with their present tense conjugations and some examples of their use.

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Ser

It should come as no surprise that a verb meaning "to be" is the most common verb in Spanish. Ser is used for permanent characteristics or things that are expected to last. It can also be used to tell the time, to describe someone's origin or profession, or to discuss a relationship.

Simple Present Conjugation

Yo

Soy

Nosotros

Somos

Eres

Vosotros

Sois

Vos

Sos

Él/Ella/Usted

Es

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Son

Examples:

  • Son las 9 de la mañana. - It's 9 in the morning.
  • Él es mi hermano. - He is my brother.
  • Juana es la directora del colegio. - Juana is the school principal.
  • Anna es canadiense. - Anna is Canadian.

Ser is a really important verb in Spanish, so you might want to learn more about it and see more ser conjugations.

Estar

The verb estar also translates into English as "to be". The difference between ser and estar is often a tricky subject for Spanish learners. While ser is preferred for more permanent situations, estar tends to be used for passing ones. To be more specific, estar is generally used for things like position, location, action, condition and emotion (often memorized with the acronym PLACE).

Simple Present Conjugation

Yo

Estoy

Nosotros

Estamos

Estás

Vosotros

Estáis

Vos

Estás

Él/Ella/Usted

Está

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Están

Examples:

  • María está en la escuela. - María is at school.
  • No puedo ir, estoy estudiando. - I can't go, I'm studying.
  • Leticia está muy contenta. - Leticia is very happy.
  • El gato está en el jardín. - The cat is in the garden.

Haber

Haber can be translated as "to have" when it is used as an auxiliary verb to form many verb tenses. It can also be translated as "have" or "must" when paired with que to express obligation. Finally, it can also be used in constructions equivalent to "there is" or "there are" in English. In these last two situations, it is often used in its impersonal form: hay.

Simple Present Conjugation

Yo

He

Nosotros

Hemos

Has

Vosotros

Habéis

Vos

Has

Él/Ella/Usted

Ha

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Han

Examples:

  • He visitado Brasil muchas veces. - I have visited Brazil many times.
  • Hay que lavar los platos. - The dishes need to be washed.
  • Hay 15 estudiantes en la clase. - There are 15 students in the class.
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Tener

Just like ser and estar can both be translated as "to be", haber and tener can both be translated as "to have". That said, haber is almost always used as an auxiliary verb, while tener is used on its own to indicate possession of something. Other common uses of tener include indicating age, "to hold", and "must", as you will see in the examples below.

Simple Present Conjugation

Yo

Tengo

Nosotros

Tenemos

Tienes

Vosotros

Tenéis

Vos

Tenés

Él/Ella/Usted

Tiene

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Tienen

Examples:

  • Tengo muchos amigos. - I have a lot of friends.
  • Diego tiene 20 años. - Diego is 20 years old.
  • Ten la caja mientras abro la puerta. - Hold the box while I open the door.
  • Tienes que estudiar más. - You must study harder.

Poder

Poder is often used as an auxiliary verb paired with infinitives to indicate the capability, permission or even possibility of doing something. Its meaning is similar to that of English modal verbs like "can" or "may".

Simple Present Conjugation

Yo

Puedo

Nosotros

Podemos

Puedes

Vosotros

Podéis

Vos

Podés

Él/Ella/Usted

Puede

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Pueden

Examples:

  • Martín puede correr muy rápido. - Martín can run really fast.
  • Puede que Graciela me visite. - Graciela may visit me.
  • ¿Puedo ir al baño? - May I go to the bathroom?

Hacer

Depending on the context, hacer can be translated into many English verbs, but its most common uses are "to do" and "to make". When used as a reflexive verb, it can also mean to act as something or somebody else.

Simple Present Conjugation

Yo

Hago

Nosotros

Hacemos

Haces

Vosotros

Hacéis

Vos

Hacés

Él/Ella/Usted

Hace

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Hacen

Examples:

  • Siempre hago los deberes. - I always do my homework.
  • Hoy te toca hacer la cena a ti. - It's your turn to make dinner today.
  • Ana se hace la boba, pero es muy inteligente. - Ana acts dumb, but she is very smart.
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Decir

Decir is one of the most straightforward verbs in the list; it most commonly means "to say" or "to tell".

Simple Present Conjugation

Yo

Digo

Nosotros

Decimos

Dices

Vosotros

Decís

Vos

Decís

Él/Ella/Usted

Dice

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Dicen

Examples:

  • Leo dice que no puede venir. - Leo says he can't come.
  • Mi abuela siempre me dice que me cuide. - My grandma always tells me to take care of myself.
  • Los expertos dicen que es verdad. - Experts say it is true.

Ir

Ir usually means to go, although, when used as a reflexive verb, it can also mean to leave.

Simple Present Conjugation

Yo

Voy

Nosotros

Vamos

Vas

Vosotros

Vais

Vos

Vas

Él/Ella/Usted

Va

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Van

Examples:

  • Voy al gimnasio todos los días. - I go to the gym every day.
  • Sandra siempre se va temprano de clase. - Sandra always leaves class early.
  • ¿A dónde vas? - Where are you going?

Ver

Ver is all about seeing, so it can mean to see, to watch and even to witness.

Simple Present Conjugation

Yo

Veo

Nosotros

Vemos

Ves

Vosotros

Veis

Vos

Ves

Él/Ella/Usted

Ve

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Ven

Examples:

  • Todas las noches veo las noticias. - I watch the news every night.
  • ¿Ves esa casa? Ahí vive Manuel. - See that house? That's where Manuel lives.
  • ¡Shh! Todavía no vi ese episodio. - Shh! I haven't watched that episode yet.

Parecer

Parecer is usually translated as "to seem" or "to look (like)". In some contexts, it can also be used to express an opinion, similarly to the verb "to think".

Simple Present Conjugation

Yo

Parezco

Nosotros

Parecemos

Pareces

Vosotros

Parecéis

Vos

Parecés

Él/Ella/Usted

Parece

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Parecen

Examples:

  • Me parece una buena idea. - I think it is a good idea.
  • ¿Estás bien? Pareces triste. - Are you ok? You look sad.
  • No parece ser tan difícil. - It doesn't seem to be that hard.
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Dar

The most common meanings of this useful Spanish irregular verb are "to give", "to produce/yield" and "to grant".

Simple Present Conjugation

Yo

Doy

Nosotros

Damos

Das

Vosotros

Dais

Vos

Das

Él/Ella/Usted

Da

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Dan

Examples:

  • Dame tu lápiz. - Give me your pencil
  • ¿Me das un poco de torta? - Can I have some cake?
  • Este árbol produce muchos limones. - This tree produces lots of lemons.
  • Ana está contenta porque le dieron una beca. - Ana is happy because she was granted a scholarship.

Saber

The verb saber lives a bit of a double life. As you will see in the examples below, it can mean "to know", but it can also mean "to taste" (as in, to have a specific taste).

Simple Present Conjugation

Yo

Nosotros

Sabemos

Sabes

Vosotros

Sabéis

Vos

Sabés

Él/Ella/Usted

Sabe

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Saben

Examples:

  • Sé que es una buena idea. - I know it is a good idea.
  • Miriam sabe mucho sobre biología. - Miriam knows a lot about biology.
  • Dice que esta torta es de limón, pero sabe a naranja. - It says this cake is made with lemon, but it tastes like oranges.

Querer

Querer can have a few different meanings, the most common ones being to love, to want and to mean.

Simple Present Conjugation

Yo

Quiero

Nosotros

Queremos

Quieres

Vosotros

Queréis

Vos

Querés

Él/Ella/Usted

Quiere

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Quieren

Examples:

  • Eres mi mejor amiga, te quiero mucho. - You are my best friend, I really love you.
  • Perdón, no quise pegarte. - Sorry, I didn't mean to hit you.
  • Quiero decirte algo. - I want to tell you something.
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Seguir

When acting as a transitive verb (i.e., when paired with a direct object), seguir means "to follow". But, when used as an intransitive verb (without an object), seguir takes on a different meaning: "to continue" or "to go on".

Simple Present Conjugation

Yo

Sigo

Nosotros

Seguimos

Sigues

Vosotros

Seguís

Vos

Seguís

Él/Ella/Usted

Sigue

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Siguen

  • ¡Siga ese taxi! - Follow that cab!
  • El azul sigue siendo mi color favorito. - Blue continues to be my favorite color.
  • Susana se cansó y no pudo seguir. - Susana got tired and she couldn't go on.

Jugar

Jugar means "to play", as in playing a game or having fun in some other way. Unlike the English verb, jugar is not used in the context of playing an instrument or playing a character in a play or movie.

Simple Present Conjugation

Yo

Juego

Nosotros

Jugamos

Juegas

Vosotros

Jugáis

Vos

Jugás

Él/Ella/Usted

Juega

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Juegan

Examples:

  • Alfonsina juega con sus amigos. - Alfonsina plays with her friends.
  • Con mis amigas jugamos al fútbol. - My friends and I play soccer.
  • A Gonzalo le gusta jugar videojuegos. - Gonzalo likes to play video games.

Encontrar

The most common meaning for encontrar is "to find", "to discover" or "to encounter". As a reflexive verb, it can be use to describe meeting someone. In some cases, it can be used to mean "to be" in a place or state.

Simple Present Conjugation

Yo

Encuentro

Nosotros

Encontramos

Encuentras

Vosotros

Encontráis

Vos

Encontrás

Él/Ella/Usted

Encuentra

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Encuentran

Examples:

  • Mi madre no encuentra sus gafas. - My mother can't find her glasses.
  • Siempre me encuentro con mi amiga fuera de clase. - I always meet my friend outside of the class.
  • Me encuentro asustada. - I am afraid.
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Salir

Salir can mean "to exit", "to go" or "come out" of a place, or "to leave".

Simple Present Conjugation

Yo

Salgo

Nosotros

Salimos

Sales

Vosotros

Salís

Vos

Salís

Él/Ella/Usted

Sale

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Salen

Examples:

  • Me gusta salir con amigos. - I like going out with friends.
  • Debo salir de la oficina unos minutos. - I need to leave the office for a couple of minutes.
  • Mi gato sale al jardín todos los días. - My cat goes out to the garden every day.

Conocer

Like saber, conocer can sometimes be translated as "to know", but it is closer to "to be familiar with" than saber is. It can also mean to meet someone or to discover or visit a thing or place.

Simple Present Conjugation

Yo

Conozco

Nosotros

Conocemos

Conoces

Vosotros

Conocéis

Vos

Conocés

Él/Ella/Usted

Conoce

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Conocen

Examples:

  • ¿Conoces a Luisa? - Have you met Luisa?
  • No conozco esa canción. - I don't know that song (I'm not familiar with that song).
  • Ella no conoce Europa. - She has never been to Europe.

Pensar

Pensar usually means "to think" but, depending on the context, it can sometimes be translated as "to plan".

Simple Present Conjugation

Yo

Pienso

Nosotros

Pensamos

Piensas

Vosotros

Pensáis

Vos

Pensás

Él/Ella/Usted

Piensa

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Piensan

Examples:

  • Pienso viajar a Francia el año que viene. - I plan on travelling to France next year.
  • Sol piensa que Rosa es divertida. - Sol thinks Rosa is fun.
  • ¿Qué piensas sobre este cuadro? - What do you think about this painting?
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Poner

Poner is a pretty straightforward verb for English speakers, it usually translates into "to put."

Simple Present Conjugation

Yo

Pongo

Nosotros

Ponemos

Pones

Vosotros

Ponéis

Vos

Ponés

Él/Ella/Usted

Pone

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Ponen

Examples:

  • Debora puso la torta en la nevera. - Debora put the cake in the fridge.
  • Pusieron una nueva tienda al lado de casa. - They put a new store next to my house.

There are a lot of irregular verbs and they might seem hard to memorize, but, as you read and speak Spanish more often, you'll find it isn't as hard as it may seem. Beginning with these popular and commonly used verbs will give you a great start.