30 Stem-changing verbs 3

E:i stem-changing verbs

For the third type of stem-changing verbs, the “e” in the stem simply changes to “i”. All e:i stem-changing verbs happen to be -ir ending verbs. There are fewer e:i stem-changing verbs than e:ie and o:ue types, but the pattern that we saw before remains the same: the “nosotros / vosotros” forms do not have changes in their stems while all other forms do.

Stem-changing verb pattern

Stem-change? Stem-change?
yo (yes) nosotros (no)
tú (yes) vosotros (no)
él (yes) ellos (yes)
ella (yes) ellas (yes)
Ud. (yes) Uds. (yes)

Stem-changing verbs: e:i

The verb “pedir” (to ask for, to order) is a common e:i stem-changing verb; notice that the preposition “for” is “built-in” to the meaning of the verb and so it’s not necessary to use an equivalent of “for” after this verb. Also, keep in mind this verb means to ask for or to request something; however, it’s meaning is not to ask a question (which would be the verb “preguntar”).

Pedir: to ask for, to order

Subject pronouns singular basic meaning Subject pronouns plural basic meaning
yo pido I ask for nosotros/as pedimos we ask for
pides you ask for vosotros/as pedís you ask for (Sp.)
él pide he asks for ellos piden they ask for
ella pide she asks for ellas piden they ask for (f)
Ud. pide you ask for Uds. piden you ask for

Diego pide dinero a sus padres. Diego asks his parents for money.
¿Cuánto piden ellos? How much are they asking for?
¿Pedimos tacos de pollo o de carne? Should we order chicken or beef tacos?
Camila pide demasiado. Camila is asking for too much.
Tú pides mucho. You’re asking for a lot.

Common e:i stem-changing verbs

Infinitivo Infinitive Infinitivo Infinitive
competir to compete medir to measure
conseguir to get, to obtain pedir to ask for, to order
corregir to correct repetir to repeat
decir to say, to tell seguir to follow, to be next
impedir to impede servir to serve

OJO 1: while the verb “decir” (to say, to tell) is an e:i stem-changing verb, it is also somewhat irregular in that the “yo” form is “digo”. The rest of the conjugations of “decir” follow the pattern of other e:i stem-changers. Likewise, “sigo” (without the “u”) is the “yo” form for seguir, but the other forms keep the “u”.

OJO 2: the verb “conseguir” means “to get”, but it should be avoided to express “to get mad” or “to get sick” and other physical and mental states of being. The use of “conseguir” is limited to mean “to get = to obtain” something.

¿Cómo se dice…?:

Now you try out some sentences: use the verbs from the e:i stem-changing verb list above to translate the sentences below.

Some vocabulary you might need: instrucciones = instructions; ganar = to win; niño = boy; what = lo que; comida = food; hasta = until; la verdad = the truth

  1. Professor Ibáñez doesn’t correct her students much.
  2. The boy repeats what his dad says.
  3. They follow the instructions.
  4. We compete but we don’t win much.
  5. ¿What do you say? (tú)
  6. Do I serve the food?
  7. They serve food until 9:00pm.
  8. Nothing impedes their progress.
  9. We always tell the truth.
  10. Who is next?


  1. La profesora Ibánez no corrige a sus estudiantes mucho.
  2. El niño repite lo que su papá dice.
  3. Ellos siguen las instrucciones.
  4. Nosotros competimos pero no ganamos mucho.
  5. ¿Qué dices tú?
  6. ¿Sirvo yo la comida?
  7. Sirven comida hasta las nueve de la noche.
  8. Nada impide su progreso.
  9. Siempre decimos la verdad.
  10. ¿Quién sigue?

Grammar Details:

#1 from above: La profesora Ibánez no corrige a sus estudiantes mucho.
Did you remember to insert the personal “a” before “sus estudiantes”? When you have a “subject-verb-object” sentence and the “object” is a person or reference to a person, “a” comes right before mention of the person.

#2 from above: El niño repite lo que su papá dice.
The question word “¿qué?” in Spanish does mean “what?”. But when the word “what” in English can be replaced with “the thing that”, then Spanish uses “lo que”. For example: I don’t understand what (the thing that) he says = No entiendo lo que dice.

#10 from above: ¿Quién sigue?
“Seguir” (to follow, to continue) has another meaning: “to be next”. This latter meaning can be used to express “What’s next?” (¿Qué sigue?), or Gabriel is next (Gabriel sigue), as in “he’s next in line”.


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First Year Spanish 1 Copyright © 2019 by Paul Eckhardt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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