Present Tense Conjugation of O-UE 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 second most common type of stem change that occurs in Spanish verbs is o to ue. For verbs in this group, the letter o in the stem of the infinitive will change to ue in all forms except nosotros/nosotras and vosotros/vosotras.

Look at how the o-ue verb dormir ("to sleep") changes forms:

Subject Verb Meaning
yo duermo I sleep
duermes you sleep
duerme he sleeps
she sleeps
you (formal) sleep
dormimos we sleep
we sleep
dormís you (plural) sleep
you (plural) sleep
duermen they sleep
they sleep
you (formal, plural) sleep

Here are some other o-ue stem-changing verbs:
almorzar - to have lunch
contar - to tell or to count
costar - to cost
mostrar - to show
poder - to be able to
recordar - to remember
volar - to fly
volver - to return

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

Puedo traducir esta frase. - I can translate this phrase.
¿Cuántas horas duermes? - How many hours do you sleep?
Usted recuerda su número de teléfono. - You (formal) remember her phone number.
Nosotros mostramos la escuela al niño. - We show the school to the child.
Vosotros volvéis a las siete. - You (plural) come back at seven.
Ellos vuelan en el cielo. - They fly in the sky.

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