Present Tense in Spanish – Verbos Con Diptongación

Spanish Grammar Tip

El tiempo presente – verbos con diptongación

 

The series of surprises within the present tense in Spanish include those verbs that change the yo-form, such as elegir → elijo or conducer  → conduzco, as seen in the previous grammar pill. The fun is not only limited to those, though! Indeed, there is a large number of highly frequent verbs that present some distinctive irregularities which only affect one vowel of the verb root. These are called verbos con diptongación.

For clarity:

VERBROOTENDING
recomendar (to recommend)recomend--ar
querer (to want/love)quer--er
repetir (to repeat)repet--ir

The affected vowel -generally the one on which the phonic stress is placed- becomes a diphthong, i.e., a combination of two adjacent vowels within the same syllable. However, these irregularities can be systematized. Additionally, the verbal forms of the first and second person plural, that is nosotros and vosotros, do not suffer any change.

E > IE

Empezar (to start)
YoEmpiezo
Empiezas
Él/EllaEmpieza
Nosotros/NosotrasEmpezamos
Vosotros/VosotrasEmpezáis
Ellos/EllasEmpiezan

 

Some of verbs following the same pattern are:

cerrar (to close) > cierro | pensar (to think) > pienso | querer (to want/love) > quiero

entender (to understand) > entiendo | sentir (to feel) > siento

preferir (to think) > prefiero

O > UE

Encontrar (to find)
YoEncuentro
Encuentras
Él/EllaEncuentra
Nosotros/NosotrasEncontramos
Vosotros/VosotrasEncontráis
Ellos/EllasEncuentran

 

Similar verbs displaying the same irregularity are:

costar (to cost) > cuesta |soñar (to dream) > sueño | poder (to can) > puedo

volver (to return) > vuelvo | dormir (to sleep) > duermo

morir (to die) > muero

Finally, there are two loners presenting single vowels within their stems which also change into a diphthong throughout their present tense conjugation.

I > IEU > UE
adquirir (to adquire) > adquiero jugar (to play) > juego

 

Let’s look at some examples:

Me despierto temprano todos los días. → I wake up early every day.

¿Quieres un café? → Do you want a coffee?

En invierno llueve mucho. → It rains a lot in wintertime.

Los niños juegan en el parque. → The children play in the park.

El puente atraviesa el río. → The bridge crosses the river.

 

If you want to improve your Spanish join the Spanish Evening Elementary 1 course!

JOIN NOW

Have a look at more Spanish Resources  or watch a some video tutorials from our our YouTube Channel

Questions