Spanish Preterite: Boot Verbs

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Spanish Preterite: Boot Verbs

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Activity Overview


Activity Includes: intermediate vocabulary, reflexive verb, words that signal the past (ayer, hace + time, anoche, el año pasado)

Boot verbs in the preterite tense are almost straightforward, but the third person exception for some of the boot verbs is a specific enough rule to irritate even the most enthusiastic language students. For this category, students must learn that for boot verbs ending in -AR and -ER, no change occurs! They are either regular in the preterite like pensar or they fall into a different category altogether like querer (a new stem). However, for boot verbs ending in -IR, the rules are entirely different. These boot verbs now only change in the 3rd person, and the vowels change differently than they did in present tense. An -IR boot verb with the vowel “o” will change to “u” and an -IR boot verb with the vowel “e” will change to an “i”, but again, only in the 3rd person! Below are some examples to illustrate.


-AR Boot Verb
(no change)
-ER Boot Verb
(no change)
-IR Boot Verb
(O → U)
-IR Boot Verb
(E → I)
PENSAR

  • pensé
  • pensaste
  • pensó
  • pensamos
  • pensasteis
  • pensaron
ENTENDER

  • entendí
  • entendiste
  • entendió
  • entendimos
  • entendisteis
  • entendieron
DORMIR

  • dormí
  • dormiste
  • durmió
  • dormimos
  • dormisteis
  • durmieron
PEDIR

  • pe
  • pediste
  • pidió
  • pedimos
  • pedisteis
  • pidieron

In order to practice this somewhat complex category, you may want students to create separate storyboards for each of the different types of boot verbs. Or, in order to illustrate and internalize the differences in one place, you may want students to create one larger storyboard (like the one modeled) that includes a column for the boot verbs that don’t change and one for those that do. In either design, have students highlight the vowels that should or should not change in each cell. Especially in the 3rd person cells for -IR boot verbs, have students make this cell stand out to the eye. For each cell students will include original sentences using the targeted verb form in the preterite as well as create a matching scene. The model storyboard only includes rows for yo, tú, and él, but students should also complete rows for the nosotros, vosotros, and ellos forms.


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