identifying stem-changing verbs

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by jupiter_8917, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. jupiter_8917 Member

    How do you know if that verb is a stem-changing from e-ie, e-i, o-ue? Muchas gracias!!!
  2. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Dutch - Belgium
    Just by learning them by heart, I'm afraid. Any good dictionary will also tell you. But there are no rules.
  3. obz

    obz Senior Member

    Los foros de WR.
    Yankee English
    Memorization. You will later learn to see occurrences of stem changes and be able to (for the most part) predict them. There aren't solid rules though, just some patterns you can learn to detect based on other verbs you know.

    If, for example, you know empezar (stem change to,an) you can tell pretty quick that tropezar, comenzar, pensar etc will follow the same stem change.
    The e, consonant(s), ar transition usually does that.
    But outside of lot's of practice, you can spend some time in front of a conjugation table.
  4. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Dutch - Belgium

    Negar: diptongación (stem change). (niega)
    Anegar: no diptongación. (anega)

    I'm afraid the only rule is: if you're not sure, go to a dictionary :)
  5. obz

    obz Senior Member

    Los foros de WR.
    Yankee English
    Indeed. Hence the stipulation.
  6. joey31415 New Member

    Indiana, USA
    English - USA
    According to Word Reference, anegar is conjugated like negar. (aniega)
  7. Bill Osler

    Bill Osler Senior Member

    North Carolina, USA
    English, USA
    The RAE begs to differ:
    In any event the warning that it is dangerous to guess is applicable.
  8. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Dutch - Belgium
    Well, I'm afraid that's wrong. I'll take a look if I can get that corrected. (normally there is a link somewhere to report errors in the dictionary, but I don't know if the conjugator is managed by Wordreference itself).

    And, welcome to the forums!

    PS. I have reported the error.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2014
  9. mexerica feliz

    mexerica feliz Senior Member

    The basic rule is: don't learn verbs in infinitive forms only but in the present form too, as in Latin*:

    defiendo, defender = to defend
    dependo, depender = to depend


    dēfendō, dēfendere, dēfendī, dēfensum
    dēpendeō, dēpendēre, dēpendī)

    Unfortunately, unlike in Portuguese, 40 % Spanish verbs don't have present forms ''predictable'' from the infinitive form.

    These lists may help you:

    For learners it would be easier if the notion of only 3 conjugations were abandoned, and all 50 semiregular classes were included in the ''regular verb'' list.
    Because the current methodology is responsible for Spanish being tagged a language of ''complex verbal morphology and high irregularity''.
    Learners would benefit from regular verbs in more than 3 conjugations sheme, this would make verbal classification in Spanish more similar
    to Scandinavian languages (Norwegian and Swedish), and more distant from Portuguese classification of verbs though.

    The point is: start learning verbs like this:
    defiendo, defender = to defend
    dependo, depender = to depend

    instead of like this:
    defender = to defend
    depender = to depend

    It's useless to try to memorize all the verbs like defiendo, defender or siento, sentir from a list etc,
    since 40 % of Spanish verbs are like that.

    Statistics of Spanish verbs:

    Out of 95,284 verbs only 49,171 are regular (predictable from the infinitive form in all tenses),
    this is just 51% in percentage.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2014

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