Present Tense Conjugation of E-I Stem‐Changing Verbs

Some verbs in Spanish do not follow the regular verb patterns of conjugation, changing a vowel in the stem. Such verbs are called stem-changing verbs. These verbs have all the regular endings but have a change occur in the stem of the verb in certain forms. Stem-changing verbs could be –ar, –er, or –ir verbs.

The third type of stem change that occurs in Spanish verbs is e to i. For verbs in this group, the letter e in the stem of the infinitive will change to i in all forms except nosotros/nosotras and vosotros/vosotras.

Look at how the e-i verb pedir ("to ask for") changes forms:

Subject Verb Meaning
yo pido I ask
pides you ask
pide he asks
she asks
you (formal) ask
pedimos we ask
we ask
pedís you (plural) ask
you (plural) ask
piden they ask
they ask
you (formal, plural) ask

Here are some other e-i stem-changing verbs:
elegir - to elect
freír - to fry
reír - to laugh
repetir - to repeat
seguir - to follow
servir - to serve
sonreír - to smile
vestir - to dress

Now that you know the pattern of a e-i stem-changing verb, you could form the present tense of any other e-i verb:

Yo pido agua. - I ask for water.
Tú sirves la naranja. - You serve the orange.
Usted repite el error. - You (formal) repeat the mistake.
Nosotros seguimos las instrucciones. - We follow the instructions.
Vosotros elegís el pastel. - You (plural) choose the cake.
Ellos ríen en el cine. - They laugh in the movie theater.

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