Verbs with Stem Change

January 3, 2017

Before we start seeing verbs that have stem change, let us talk about the verb stem first. A verb stem is a part of the verb where suffix can be attached. So, if I take “tener” as an example, since the ending is -ER, ten- should be the stem for “tener”.

Since we know what the stem is, now we talk about how they change. It is always a vowel that changes in a stem, and there are 3 types of verbs that have stem change.

o →ue

dormir to sleep

acostarse to go to bed

volver to return

jugar to play

almorzar to eat lunch


1st Personduermodormimos
2nd Personduermesdormís
3rd Personduermeduermen


pensar to think

*tener to have

entender to understand

preferir to prefer

sentirse to feel

venir to come

querer to want

despertarse to wake up


1st Personpiensopensamos
2nd Personpiensaspensáis
3rd Personpiensapiensan


pedir to ask for

vestirse to get dressed

1st Personpidopedimos
2nd Personpidespedís
3rd Personpidepiden

As you may have noticed, stem in nosotros and vosotros forms stays the same as their infinitive form of the verb. And, I personally remembered this visually imagining an L on the conjugation table.


1st Personvuelvovolvimos
2nd Personvuelvesvolvís
3rd Personvuelvevuelven



*Tener in yo form is completely irregular. “Yo tengo.”