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Lesson 16: Spell-Changing Yo Forms in the Preterite Tense

lesson on Spanish spell-changing verbs in the preterite tense


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Spell-Change Yo Forms

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.

llegar preterite tense Spanish conjugation tablebuscar preterite tense Spanish conjugation tablerealizar preterite tense Spanish conjugation table

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:

Lesson 15 table showing the different pronunciations of the letter G in Spanishtable of Spanish hard C versus Spanish soft C sounds with various 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.

Check out all llegar conjugations, buscar conjugations, or realizar conjugations in the VerbMaster Dictionary!

Practice Time!

The only way to master these verbs is through targeted practice. Fortunately for you, VerbMaster’s intelligent tutoring system makes conjugation practice a breeze!

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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