The next spell-changing verbs we’ll look at are neat because they illustrate some rules at the intersection of spelling and pronunciation in Spanish. Take a look at the table below, and note the spell change that takes place in the yo form.
Why do the yo forms change their spelling? In Spanish, the G and C are usually hard sounds, like the English words “go” or “cat.” However, when G and C are followed by an E or I, their pronunciation becomes soft. Some examples:
So, the preterite yo forms of llegar and buscar change in order to maintain the hard G and C sounds. With this new spelling the word on the page reflects the word as it is spoken so that we don’t say “llejé” or “bus-sé” (or “bus-thé” in Spain).
But why does realizar change in the yo form? Well, the reason behind that is pretty historical (think 16th century historical). So…don’t worry about the why. Just get that unique spelling in your brain.
So, quick recap: ‑CAR, ‑GAR, or ‑ZAR only change in the yo form. For ‑CAR verbs, the C becomes a QU, in ‑GAR verbs the G becomes a GU, and in ‑ZAR verbs the Z becomes a C.
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In this session, you’ll practice conjugating llegar, buscar, and realizar in the preterite tense. So what are you waiting for? Get to studying, you’re on your way to becoming a VerbMaster!
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