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Why do some Spanish verbs end in ue?

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June 16, 2015 1:08AM

Verbs that have a -car and -gar infinitive ending change to -qu and -gu respectively when in the first person singular preterit and in the subjunctive mood (for all persons).

Pagar

Normally, the termination for an -ar verb would result in pagé, but in Spanish it would be pronounced "pa-jay" and not "pa-gay". Adding the u clarifies the pronunciation.

Buscar

Buscé would be pronounced "bu-say" instead of "bus-kay", so we must spell it busqué

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June 13, 2015 3:34AM

There is no specific rule in this regard. Perhaps you are trying to ask why verbs like "pagar" or "tocar" will add a "u" before the "e" in certain conjugations, e.g. pague and toque. In the case of pagar, this is to keep the "g" hard. In the case of tocar, the switch from a "c" to "qu" is in order to preserve the hard "k" sound (since the letter k is not used in Spanish).