The Spanish preterite is a past tense consisting of one word, compared with the Perfect which has two, the auxiliary verb and the past participle, here are the essential aspects of the Spanish preterite.
- It is firstly a tense in one word both in Spanish and in English
- It describes a single, completed action in the past: for example, ‘I said‘, ‘Paul spoke‘, ‘we ate‘ and so on.
- What it is important to remember is it can be used in conversation just as well as in the narrative, which is the part outside the dialogue describing past actions.
Here are the endings for the Spanish preterite for each of the three groups of verbs; ar, er and ir.
Hablar – to speak
|él, ella, usted||habló||He/She/You spoke|
|ellos, ellas, ustedes||hablaron||They/You spoke|
Comer – to eat
|él, ella, usted||comió||He/She/You ate|
|ellos, ellas, ustedes||comieron||They/You ate|
Vivir – to live
|él, ella, usted||vivió||He/She/You lived|
|ellos, ellas, ustedes||vivieron||They/You lived|
The biggest problem with learning the Spanish preterite is the large number of irregular verbs that must be mastered. The most important and most commonly used of these irregular verbs are dar, estar, haber, hacer, poder, poner, querer, saber, tener, venir, ser, ir and decir.
Learning each of the conjugations for each of these verbs is not going to be easy but… a verb training tool, such as the Verbarrator, will not only provide you with the best possible help but it will also enable you to learn verb conjugation so much faster than if you were using traditional methods of study.