While students learn Spanish verbs, many get overwhelmed by the number of irregular verbs out there. THat is part of the reason this site exists, to turn this large group into manageable chunks with quizzing spread out.
Apart from these improvements, did you know there are several Spanish freebie verbs? What do I mean? I mean verbs that technically are considered irregular because the spelling changes, but are pronounced as if the conjugation was regular. We call these homophones, which basically means "same sound".
These verbs can be broken into two groups:
This first group of verb groups is only irregular in present, present subjunctive, and imperative, and only has two verb groups in it.
Ends in -uar. Verbs like continuar, extenuar, and actuar. Here, the 'u' must have an accent in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person singular, and 3rd person plurar, such as continúo, or extenúan.
Ends in -iar. Verbs like fotografiar, enviar, liar, and confiar. Exactly the same as the previous verb group, but instead of a ú, we use an accented i, í, like fotografías or líe.
This collection of verb groups is irregular in preterite, prsent subjunctive, and imperative. They are regular in present tense, and only have four verb groups.
Ends in -car. Verbs like mascar, suplicar, marcar, and buscar. In 1st person singular for preterite, it is irregular, and for all conjugations of present subjunctive. The conjugation is also easy, just substitute the 'c' for 'qu', but again, it sounds the same! For example, 'busqué', or 'masquen'.
Ends in -zar. Verbs like alcanzar, lanzar, cazar, and utilizar. Same as previous verb group, but change the 'z' to a 'c', such as alcancé or lances.
Ends in -gar. Verbs like castigar, juzgar, and llegar. Changed same as previous, but substitute 'g' for 'gu', as in castiguen or juzgué.
Ends in -guar. Verbs like aguar or averiguar. Changed same as previous, but substitute the 'gu' for 'gü', such as agüe or averigüen.
That's it! Remember, all these verbs sound exactly the same as if they were conjugated like regular verbs, they are just spelled slightly different, with accents or extra letters inserted.
Breaking verbs down like this really makes it less overwhelming, in my opinion. Whereas before we had around 35 verb groups to memorize, we see that six of them are really the same, bringing that total way down.
In future articles, I will break down the remaining verb groups further.