Hello again! We are at present on a journey through the various ways that verbs are formed in the present tense. Before we continue on our way I would like to have a brief recap so that we can see exactly how far we’ve come and how far we have to go!
With regard to the present tense, (this works differently in other tenses) we can divide our verbs into three groups. I call these groups ‘Standard’, ‘Root-Changing’ and ‘Irregular’ verbs. In parallel, as it were, we also have another three groups to be aware of; namely verbs that end in ‘–ar’, ‘-er’ or ‘–ir’. These three groups are relevant in all verb tenses and formations.
In previous articles we have looked at the ending changes of our ‘Standard’ verbs and seen how they differ between the ‘–ar’, ‘-er’ and ‘–ir’ groups. At this point we also looked at how each verb divides into root and ending; the root containing the essential meaning (walk, run etc.) and the ending indicating who performs the action. At the same time we also mentioned the fact that in some cases there is a difference in the ‘first person singular’ form of certain verbs. These differences occur in both ‘Standard’ and ‘Root-Changing’ verbs and do not influence the way the rest of the verb is considered. They are also usually very common and therefore easy to remember.
We then moved to our second category which is “root-changing” verbs and discovered that within this group there are three different types of root changes (there seem to be an awful lot of ‘threes’, but I don’t think there’s any mystical reason for this). The most common group is the root change ‘e to ie’ and we looked at a few examples of this. The second group is ‘o to ue’ and that is what we looked at last month. In both cases we went through changes to ‘–ar’, ‘-er’ and ‘–ir’ verbs.
This means that we now need to look at our third group of Root-Changing verbs, which is ‘e to i’. Once we have done that, we only have the Irregular verbs left and, as I am sure I’ve already told you, there are only four of them (ser, estar, ir and haber) and they may well be already quite familiar to you.
The difference between the ‘e to i’ group of Root-Changing verbs and the other two is that they only occur in the ‘-ir’ group. Here are some the most common ones:
decir (to say, to tell)
pedir (to ask for, to order)
medir (to measure)
seguir (to follow, to continue),
repetir (to repeat)
So, as we have already seen the rules for Root-Changing verbs in some detail, here is one example of the ‘e to i’ verbs for you to contemplate:
Pedir – to ask for/order
Don’t worry, there’ll be more next month!
Jane Cronin’s “Step by Step Spanish” articles are available as e-books at www.janecronin.eu where you can also obtain Jane’s “Step by Step Internet Spanish” course.