Irregular Verbs in Spanish – Top 10 Common Examples

Irregular verbs in Spanish are among the most hated aspects of this language. That’s because when it comes to language learning, we all like rules, as they make us feel confident and secure. Anything that escapes rules tends to confuse us and requires additional learning effort. 

The most irregular Spanish verbs are, unfortunately,  the ones people use most often. So, instead of trying to run away from them, try to use them a lot, with different subjects and grammar structures, as this is the only way to reach fluency. 

10 Key Irregular Verbs in Spanish

  • ser – to be
  • estar – to be
  • tener – to have
  • hacer – to do, to make
  • ir – to go
  • venir – to come
  • ver – to see
  • poder – can
  • saber – to know
  • dar – to give

#1 Irregular Verbs in Spanish: Ser – To Be

The verb “ser” is one of the key verbs to learn when you study Spanish. It appears in most of the basic expressions related to your name, nationality, profession, etc. 

Unfortunately, it is also one of the most irregular verbs this language has. 

🔔 What makes using “ser” correctly even more difficult is the fact that it has a “twin brother”, the verb “estar”. Both translate to English as “to be”, yet, they are used in totally different situations

The table below will show you how the verb “ser” conjugates in Spanish in the most common grammar tenses and moods. 

Such a large number of verb conjugations is surely hard for native English speakers. On the bright side, there are also multiple similarities between both languages and they make Spanish not so difficult to learn

Now that we know how the verb “ser” conjugates in Spanish, let’s try to use some of these forms in sentences. 

🔔 Remember, active use of any new vocabulary is the best way to retain it!

The Irregular Verb SER – Examples Of Use

🇪🇸 Yo soy tu mamá y tú eres mi hijo. 
🇬🇧 I am your mom and you are my child. 

🇪🇸 Lucas fue el presidente del curso por muchos años. 
🇬🇧 Lucas was the class president for many years. 

🇪🇸 Cuando era niña, me gustaba jugar con las muñecas. 
🇬🇧 When I was a child, I liked playing with dolls. 

🇪🇸 Estos 3 últimos meses han sido muy largos. 
🇬🇧 These last 3 months have been very long. 

🇪🇸 La casa está siendo pintada. 
🇬🇧 The house is being painted. 

🇪🇸 No creo que sea una buena idea visitar a Alex hoy. Recién salió del hospital.  
🇬🇧 I don’t think it is a good idea to visit Alex today. He just got out of the hospital. 

🇪🇸 Mi vida sería muy diferente si tuviera hijos. 
🇬🇧 My life would be very different if I had kids. 

🇪🇸 En esta empresa, tú y yo seremos los jefes. 
🇬🇧 In this company, you and I will be the bosses. 

🇪🇸 ¡Sed pacientes niños, por favor! Ya casi llegamos.
🇬🇧 Be patient, kids, please! We’re almost there. 

🇪🇸 Si fueras mi marido, te mandaría a comprar ropa nueva. 
🇬🇧 If you were my husband, I’d send you to buy new clothes. 

#2 Irregular Verbs in Spanish: Estar – To Be

🔔 Now that we’ve seen the verb “ser”, it is time to have a look at its twin: “estar”, which is used in Spanish mostly to express feelings, emotions, temporary situations, and actions. 

Estar” shows big irregularities in the present and past simple tense (pretérito indefinido), as well as the subjunctive (both present and past) and Spanish imperative mood.

Are all these irregularities making you dizzy? Check out the examples below to see if you can remember them better:

The Irregular Verb ESTAR – Examples Of Use

🇪🇸 Tus padres están muy preocupados por tí. 
🇬🇧 Your parents are very worried about you. 

🇪🇸 La charla estuvo muy interesante.
🇬🇧 The speech was very interesting. 

🇪🇸 ¿Peleabas mucho cuando estabas en la escuela?
🇬🇧 Did you use to fight a lot when you were at school?

🇪🇸 Test Your Spanish Knowledge 🇪🇸

🇪🇸 ¿Alguna vez has estado en Chile? 
🇬🇧 Have you ever been to Chile?

🇪🇸 Estaríamos ahora en Madrid si el vuelo no se hubiera cancelado.  
🇬🇧 We would be in Madrid now if the flight hadn’t been canceled.

🇪🇸 Por favor, no estés enojado conmigo. Fue un accidente.  
Please, don’t be mad at me. It was an accident. 

🇪🇸 Estaríamos ahora en Madrid si el vuelo no se hubiera cancelado.  
🇬🇧 We would be in Madrid now if the flight hadn’t been canceled.

🇪🇸 Estando en República Dominicana, uno no pasa frío. 
🇬🇧 Being in the Dominican Republic, one never gets cold. 

🇪🇸 Me temo que el gerente no estará contento cuando se entere de esto. 
🇬🇧 I’m afraid the manager won’t be happy when he finds out about it. 

🇪🇸 Si estuviera en tus zapatos, hablaría con él. 
🇬🇧 If I was in your shoes, I’d talk to him.  

🇪🇸 Sugiero que no estemos tan seguros de la victoria todavía. 
🇬🇧 I suggest we don’t be so sure of the victory yet. 

#3 Irregular Verbs in Spanish: Tener – To Have

Together with “ser” and “estar”, “tener” is among the key Spanish verbs you get to learn right from the start. 

In an everyday context, you’ll need to use this verb when talking about your age or expressing certain emotions or feelings. 

🔔 Just like other verbs on our list, “tener” is packed with conjugation irregularities, from the “g” in the 1st person singular in the present tense, through the “uv” part in pretérito indefinido, to the “e” that gets eliminated in the future and in the conditional form. 

The Irregular Verb TENER – Examples Of Use

🇪🇸 ¿Cuántos hermanos tienes?
🇬🇧 How many siblings do you have?

🇪🇸 Anoche tuve una pesadilla.
🇬🇧 I had a nightmare last night. 

🇪🇸 De joven, tenía muchos amigos. 
🇬🇧 When I was young I had lots of friends. 

🇪🇸 Tendremos que actualizar nuestros precios. 
🇬🇧 We’ll have to update our prices. 

🇪🇸 Los gerentes están teniendo una reunión ahora. 
🇬🇧 The managers are having a meeting now. 

🇪🇸 ¿Has tenido algunas noticias de Pablo?
🇬🇧 Have you heard any news from Pablo?

🇪🇸 Si tuviera tu figura, me compraría este vestido.
🇬🇧 If I had your figure, I’d buy this dress. 

🇪🇸 No tengas miedo. 
🇬🇧 Don’t be afraid. (literally: Don’t have fear). 

🇪🇸 No creo que esta vez tengamos mejores resultados. 
🇬🇧 I don’t think we’ll have better results this time. 

🇪🇸 ¡Ten! es un regalo para tí. 
🇬🇧 Here, it is a gift for you. 

#4 Irregular Verbs in Spanish: Hacer – To Do / To Make

Another one in our list of Spanish irregulars is a very popular verb “hacer”. There are plenty of everyday expressions that require its use, so you’d better learn how to conjugate it well!

Do, does, did, done, doing – English needs only 5 different forms. Spanish, on the other hand, requires many more. 

🔔 Pay attention to the letter “G” that appears when you conjugate “hacer” in the present or when you are making prohibitions.  This verb doesn’t follow the rules of pretérito indefinido conjugations, and its past participle is very different from what you might have expected. 

Hopefully, the set of sentences below helps you get a better grasp of the correct forms:

The Irregular Verb HACER – Examples Of Use

🇪🇸 Esta pastelería hace muy buenas galletas de chocolate.  
This cake shop makes very good chocolate cookies. 

🇪🇸 Estoy haciendo una torta de chocolate. 
🇬🇧 I’m making a chocolate cake. 

🇪🇸 ¿Qué han hecho (ustedes)?
🇬🇧 What have you done?

🇪🇸 Mamá, ¿qué harás de almuerzo hoy? 
🇬🇧 Mom, what will you make for lunch today?

🇪🇸 Haremos todo lo posible.   
🇬🇧 We’ll do our best. 

🇪🇸 ¿Qué harías en mi lugar?
🇬🇧 What would you do in my place?

🇪🇸 Niños, ¡no hagáis tanto ruido por favor!
🇬🇧 Kids, don’t make so much noise, please!

🇪🇸 No hemos hecho todas las pruebas todavía.  
🇬🇧 We haven’t done (run) all the tests yet. 

🇪🇸 Marcos me pidió que le hiciera un favor. 
🇬🇧 Marcos asked me to do him a favor. 

🔔 Have you noticed how the last example uses reported speech (discurso indirecto)? Learn more about that structure by reading one of my recent posts

🔔 Before we leave the verb “hacer” behind, there is one more thing I’d like to draw your attention to. Sometimes, it is used in Spanish in contexts that don’t allow for a literal translation to English, especially when you talk about the weather.

Phrases like “Hace frío”, “hace calor” – simply mean “It IS cold”, or “It IS hot”. 

#5 Irregular Verbs in Spanish: Ir – To Go

The verb “ir” relates to all kinds of different places and is an indispensable part of every Spanish student’s vocabulary. 

Learn its conjugation patterns to say where you are going, where you went, have gone, or will go in the future. 

As you can see, the whole present and past simple conjugations are irregular. The gerund and the present subjunctive forms don’t follow the usual rules either. 

🔔 Have you noticed that the verb “ir” and the verb “ser” have identical conjugation in pretérito imperfecto? When hearing “fui, fuiste, fue, etc.”, pay special attention not to confuse these two verbs. 

The Irregular Verb IR – Examples Of Use

🇪🇸 ¿Adónde vamos?
🇬🇧 Where are we going?

🇪🇸 Voy a la universidad en bus. 
🇬🇧 I go to the university by bus. 

🇪🇸 Anoche mi hermano fue a un concierto. 
🇬🇧 My brother went to a concert last night. 

🇪🇸 En diciembre iremos a ver a los abuelos. 
🇬🇧 We’ll go to visit grandma and grandpa in December. 

🇪🇸 Si no estuviera tan ocupado, iría contigo. 
🇬🇧 If I weren’t so busy, I’d go with you. 

🇪🇸 Cuando chica, iba todos los veranos a la costa. 
🇬🇧 When I was little, I used to go to the coast every summer. 

🇪🇸 Ustedes nunca han ido a este museo, ¿o sí?
🇬🇧 You’ve never gone to this museum, have you?

🇪🇸 Carlos, ¡no vayas solo, por favor!
🇬🇧 Carlos, don’t go alone, please.

🇪🇸 Ojalá fuéramos a bailar más seguido.
🇬🇧 I wish we went dancing more often. 

#6 Irregular Verbs in Spanish: Venir – To Come

Just like “come” and “go” are a common pair in English, there is no “ir” without “venir”. Pay attention to the most important conjugation irregularities that this verb has. 

🔔 Have you noticed, for instance, how instead of “veniría” – which would be a typical conditional –  the correct form is “vendría”? Try to spot more forms of this verb that don’t follow the rules. 

The Irregular Verb VENIR – Examples Of Use

🇪🇸 ¿A qué hora vienes? 
🇬🇧 What time are you coming?

🇪🇸 Raúl vino a verte. 
🇬🇧 Raúl came to see you. 

🇪🇸 ¿Vendréis a mi fiesta de cumpleaños este sábado?
🇬🇧 Will you come to my birthday party this Saturday?

🇪🇸 ¡Venid, niños! Ya es hora de irnos a casa. 
🇬🇧 Come, kids. It’s time for us to go home. 

🇪🇸 Esperamos que vengan (ustedes) a visitarnos pronto.
🇬🇧 We hope you come to visit us soon. 

🇪🇸 ¿Sabes porque Marcela no ha venido todavía?
🇬🇧 Do you know why Marcela hasn’t come yet?

🇪🇸 Viniendo de tí, esta crítica es muy grave. 
🇬🇧 Coming from you, this criticism is very serious. 

🇪🇸 La mamá quería que viniéramos a las 4. 
🇬🇧 Mom wanted us to come at 4. 

#7 Irregular Verbs in Spanish: Ver – To See, To Watch

Most of the conjugation irregularities for the verb “ver” appear in pretérito imperfecto, the tense used to talk about past habits. Instead of dropping both the “e” and the “r”,  it keeps the “e” for all the subjects. 

🔔 As for the past participle, instead of “veido”, you’ll see “visto” – completely outside the rules. 

Present subjunctive and negative imperative are irregular too. 

The Irregular Verb VER – Examples Of Use

🇪🇸 Veo que no te preparaste para el examen. 
🇬🇧 I see you didn’t prepare for the exam. 

🇪🇸 Veremos que se puede hacer. 
🇬🇧 We’ll see what can be done. 

🇪🇸 ¿Viste el eclipse solar ayer?
🇬🇧 Did you see the solar eclipse yesterday?

🇪🇸 Veía esta serie cuando era adolescente. 
🇬🇧 I used to watch this series when I was a teenager. 

🇪🇸 ¿Han visto alguna película entretenida últimamente?
🇬🇧 Have you seen / watched any entertaining movies lately?

🇪🇸 Si tuviera más tiempo, vería más Netflix. 
🇬🇧 If I had more time, I’d watch more Netflix. 

🇪🇸 Antonio, no veas tanta tele. 
🇬🇧 Antonio, don´t watch so much TV. 

🇪🇸 Estaba viendo las noticias cuando llamaste. 
🇬🇧 I was watching the news when you called. 

🇪🇸 Mis padres no querían que yo lo viera. 
🇬🇧 My parents didn’t want me to see it. 

#8 Irregular Verbs in Spanish: Poder – Can, Be Able To

Just like the verb “can” is among the most often used verbs in English, so is the verb “poder” in Spanish. Its main irregularity has to do with the vowel “o” that in certain conjugations gets replaced with “ue” or “u”. 

In the future tense and the conditional form, the verb “poder” loses the letter “e” and adds the respective endings right after the “d”. 

Check out the table below to see how this verb conjugates across different grammar tenses and moods. 

The Irregular Verb PODER – Examples Of Use

🇪🇸 ¿Podemos hablar?
🇬🇧 Can we talk?

🇪🇸 No podéis entrar acá. 
🇬🇧 You can’t enter here. 

🇪🇸 No pudimos terminar la tarea. 
🇬🇧 We were not able to finish the task. 

🇪🇸 ¿Podrías ayudarme, por favor?
🇬🇧 Could you help me, please?

🇪🇸 Alex no ha podido visitarme en meses. 
🇬🇧 Alex has not been able to visit me in months. 

🇪🇸 Si pudiera retroceder el tiempo, no cometería el mismo error. 
🇬🇧 If I could turn back time, I wouldn’t make the same mistake again. 

🇪🇸 No creo que Laura pueda acompañarnos hoy. Está muy resfriada. 
🇬🇧 I don’t think Laura will be able to join us today. She has a bad cold. 

🇪🇸 Cuando vivía con mis padres no podía salir de fiesta todas las noches. 
🇬🇧 When I lived with my parents I couldn’t go partying every night. 

🔔 Even though it is grammatically possible to create the imperative form of the verb “poder”, it is pretty useless as a command in real life. 

#9 Irregular Verbs in Spanish: Saber – To Know, To Find Out

Our list of Spanish irregular verbs wouldn’t be complete without the verb “saber”, which translates to English as “to know”. 

You’ll notice its unruliness right from the start. Instead of replacing the “er” ending with the letter “o” in the 1st person singular of the present tense, it unexpectedly conjugates as “yo sé”. 

The past simple conjugation is also packed with irregularities – the “up” cluster appearing out of nowhere.  You’ll see it again in the past subjunctive form.  

The present subjunctive, on the other hand, along with the imperative, will replace the “up” for “ep”. Have a look:

The Irregular Verb SABER – Examples Of Use

🇪🇸 No sé qué hacer. 
🇬🇧 I don’t know what to do. 

🇪🇸 No sabíamos que ustedes estaban divorciados. 
🇬🇧 We didn’t know you were divorced. 

🇪🇸 ¿Supiste la gran noticia?
🇬🇧 Did you hear the big news? (literally: Did you find out…)

🇪🇸 No sabréis qué hacer sin mi.
🇬🇧 You (plural) won’t know what to do without me. 

🇪🇸 Si estudiaras más, sabrías cual es la capital de Argentina. 
🇬🇧 If you studied more, you’d know what the capital of Argentina is. 

🇪🇸 Sabiendo lo que sé ahora, me doy cuenta que fue una mala decisión. 
🇬🇧 Knowing what I know now, I realize it was a bad decision. 

🇪🇸 Ojalá supieras lo importante que es tener amigos. 
🇬🇧 I wish you knew how important it is to have friends. 

🇪🇸 Es imposible que mis papás sepan dónde dejé la billetera.  
🇬🇧 It is impossible for my parents to know where I left the wallet. 

#10 Irregular Verbs in Spanish: Dar – To Give

The last on our list of key irregular verbs in Spanish is “dar” / “to give”. 

🔔 It sometimes chooses not to follow the rules when conjugating in the present and in the past, but most of its irregularities can be observed in the subjunctive form. 

The Irregular Verb DAR – Examples Of Use

🇪🇸 Te doy mi palabra. 
🇬🇧 I give you my word. 

🇪🇸 ¿Por qué le diste este trabajo a Victor y no a mí?
🇬🇧 Why did you give this job to Victor and not me?

🇪🇸 ¿Tus padres te daban la mesada?
🇬🇧 Did your parents use to give you pocket money?

🇪🇸 Ana está ocupada ahora. Le está dando el almuerzo a la bebé. 
🇬🇧 Ana is busy now. She is giving the baby her lunch. 

🇪🇸 No le des esta información a nuestros competidores. 
🇬🇧 Don’t give this information to our competitors. 

🇪🇸 Si tuviera el dinero, te lo daría sin problema. 
🇬🇧 If I had the money, I’d give it to you without problems.  

🇪🇸 ¡Jefe, deme más tiempo para terminar este informe, por favor!
🇬🇧 Boss, please give me more time to finish this report. 

🇪🇸 Ellos aún no nos han dado ninguna respuesta. 
🇬🇧 They haven’t given us any answer yet. 

So, we’ve finished with our Top 10. Those of you who would like to catch up on Spanish conjugation models, like the ones I prepared for you, please check the RAE website.

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Joanna Lupa
Joanna Lupa
Polish by birth, Chilean by the turns of life. Has spent 20 years in that beautiful South American country working as a language teacher and translator. Has taught Spanish and English to students of all proficiency levels. Passionate about languages, books, and traveling. A mother of 2 trilingual teenagers.

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