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Portuguese/Contents/Irregular verbs

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Irregular verbs are verbs that don't follow the normal pattern used in giving tense to verbs (as is the case with regular verbs). Instead, they have their own individual ways of adding tense.

For instance, in English we would end most past tense verb usages with the letters ED ("work", "clean", and "thank" become "worked", "cleaned", and "thanked"). But with irregular verbs, we make much different changes to them ("see", "think", and "do", become "saw", "thought", and "did"). The Portuguese language has instances such as these, and we will explore them in this section.

There are several levels of irregularity in Portuguese verbs. Most irregular of all are the so-called anomalous verbs, which are only two: ser and ir. These two verbs present stem change within the Present Indicative tense, which means that not all persons begin the same way:

          ser   ir
eu        sou   vou
tu        és    vais
você      é     vai
ele/ela   é     vai
nós       somos vamos
vós*      sois  ides
vocês     são   vão
eles/elas são   vão
  • Vós is considered archaic, and is hardly heard today in Brazil, yet is still used in Portugal

Furthermore, curiously, in several tenses (the Perfect and Plus-quam-perfect Preterites Indicative, the Imperfect and Future Subjunctive) the conjugation is exactly the same for these two verbs:

          indicative              subjunctive
          perfect plusquamperfect imperfect future
eu        fui     fora            fosse     for
tu        foste   foras           fosses    fores
ele/ela   foi     fora            fosse     for
nós       fomos   fôramos         fôssemos  formos
vós       fostes  fôreis          fôsseis   fordes
eles/elas foram   foram           fossem    forem

There is also stem change in the Present Subjunctive, but the stems remain the same for all persons and numbers and they differ in each verb:

          ser     ir
eu        seja    vá
tu        sejas   vás
ele/ela   seja    vá
nós       sejamos vamos
vós       sejais  vades
eles/elas sejam   vão


The following are sections dedicated to the different tenses used for irregular verbs:


Irregular verbsEdit

Here is a list of the most common irregular verbs, along with their meanings (the links refer to the wiktionary project):