2 The anatomy of a verb preferir Every verb in Spanish is made up of two parts.The endingEach verb belongs to one of the following classes: verbs that end in –AR, those that end in –ER and those that end in –IR.The stemThe stem consists of everything before the ending.For example:EndingpreferirStem
3 How stem-changers work Put simply, the stems of stem-changing verbs change when they are conjugated.There are different types of stem-changers.They can change from E to I, E to IE, O to UE,U to UELet´s say a verb is an e i stem-changer, but the verb has more than one E. Which one changes?As a rule, the last vowel of the stem changes.So, in the case of preferir, which is an e to ie stem-changer, the first e does not change but the last one does.
4 How stem-changers conjugate The change in stem-changers occurs when the verb is conjugated.The stem-change is present in the yo*, tú, usted/él/ella and ustedes/ellos/ellas forms. *There are a few verbs that take irregular “yo” forms in apart from the stem-changeThe stem-change is NOT PRESENT is the nosotros/nosotras and vosotros/vosotras forms.Stem-changers are often called shoe verbs or boot verbs because of the way the conjugation table looks with the exlusion of the nosotros and vosotros forms.The endings stay the same as always depending on whether it is an –AR, -ER, or –IR verb!
5 How do you spot one?Students of Spanish often struggle with stem-changers. They want to know if there is a secret to identifying which verbs stem-change.Unfortunately, there is nothing identifiable that will let you know.A good phrase to know is “porque sí”, which means “because that´s the way it is.”¡Qué frustración! How am I supposed to learn them, then?You practice them, use them and notice them when you see or hear them.The good news is that with time and practice, this will come naturally to you!