Back to school sale Save 20% on Premium annual »

-car verbs in Spanish: Conjugate-car verbs in the preterite tense in Spanish (El Pretérito Indefinido)

Learn about -CAR verbs in El Pretérito Indefinido in Spanish

Verbs ending in -car in Spanish,  like acercar (to move something closer), embarcar (to board), equivocar[se] (to make a mistake)tocar (to touch, to play), explicar (to explain), are irregular in El Pretérito Indefinido in Spanish because the spelling changes for pronunciation reasons in the first person singular (yo).

Conjugation of "explicar" in El Pretérito Indefinido in Spanish 

yo expliqué
explicaste
él / ella / Ud. explicó
nosotros / nosotras  explicamos
vosotros / vosotras  explicasteis
ellos / ellas / Uds. explicaron

Conjugation of "tocar" in El Pretérito Indefinido in Spanish 

yo toqué
tocaste
él / ella / Ud. tocó
nosotros / nosotras  tocamos
vosotros / vosotras  tocasteis
ellos / ellas / Uds. tocaron
Notice that the -c- is replaced with -qu-. However, apart from the yo form, all the other endings are the same as those of regular -ar verbs: -aste, -ó, -amos, -asteis, -aron.

Have a look at these examples.

Busqué al perro pero no lo encontré.I looked for the dog but I did not find him.

Embarqué a las 8:00.I boarded at 8:00.

Acerqué la silla a la mesa.I moved the chair closer to the table.

Me equivoqué de número.I got the wrong number.

Toqué la guitarra hasta el amanecer.I played the guitar until dawn.

Te lo expliqué muchas veces.I explained it to you many times.
 

 
For more verbs that follow this pattern see the Verb list: -car verbs that change c > qu in the yo form in El Pretérito Indefinido.

Want to make sure your Spanish sounds confident? We’ll map your knowledge and give you free lessons to focus on your gaps and mistakes. Start your Braimap today »

Examples and resources

Toqué la guitarra hasta el amanecer.I played the guitar until dawn.
Me equivoqué de número.I got the wrong number.
Busqué al perro pero no lo encontré.I looked for the dog but I did not find him.
Acerqué la silla a la mesa.I moved the chair closer to the table.
Embarqué a las 8:00.I boarded at 8:00.
Te lo expliqué muchas veces.I explained it to you many times.
Getting that for you now...