Stem-Changing Verbs The stem is what you have after you drop off the –ar, -er, or –ir: hablar mirar comer vender vivir abrir habl- com- viv- mir- vend- abr- So “stem-changing” means that the last vowel in the stem changes. The ending (-o, -as, -a, etc.) aren’t affected. Let’s look at a regular verb: vender (to sell) vendo vendes vende vendemos vendéis venden Now let’s look at a stem-changing verb: querer (to want) quiero quieres quiere queremos queréis quieren “Stem-changing” means that the last vowel in the stem changes. In this case, it’s an “e,” and it changes to an “ie” BUT NOT IN THE NOSOTROS AND VOSOTROS FORMS. There are three types of stem-changing verbs: e ie querer (to want) quiero quieres quiere queremos queréis quieren ei o ue pedir (to ask for) volver (to return) pido pedimos pides pedís pide piden vuelvo volvemos vuelves volvéis vuelve vuelven Notice that they all change in the same places: every person EXCEPT nosotros and vosotros. Here are some common stem-changing verbs: e ie querer (to want) cerrar (to close) perder (to lose) pensar (to think) sentir (to feel) ei pedir (to ask for) servir (to serve) repetir (to repeat) seguir (to follow) decir (to say, tell) comenzar (to begin) preferir (to prefer) empezar (to begin) entender (to understand) o ue volver (to return) poder (can) dormir (to sleep) morir (to die) encontrar (to find) recordar (to remember) almorzar (to have lunch) Sometimes you have more than one “e” or “o” in the stem. Remember that it’s the last vowel in the stem that changes. “Cerrar” (to close) is a stem-changing verb. “Cenar” (to have dinner), which looks very much like “cerrar,” is not: cerrar cierro cerramos cierras cerráis cierra cierran cenar ceno cenamos cenas cenáis cena cenan How do you know that “cerrar” is a stem-changing verb and that “cenar” isn’t? You can’t tell by looking at a verb if it’s going to stem change or not. You just have to memorize the ones that do. Click here to go to a practice exercise. (Please note that this is NOT your homework assignment.) Now you can click here to go to your homework assignment.