L.O – to learn how to form and use
the PRETERITE tense in Spanish
The PRETERITE tense is used to talk about completed actions in the
past. It is used:
1. in telling stories and for non descriptive events.
2. for actions that were completed in the past. (FINISHED events)
3. for actions in the past which happened only once. (SINGLE events)
4.
for actions that were repeated but finished in the past. (REPEATED events)
5.
for actions that were part of a chain of events. (CHAIN events)
6.
for actions that took place over a specific period of time. It can be used with the
following expressions of time:
ayer (yesterday), anteayer (the day before yesterday) , la semana pasada (last
week), el mes/año pasado (last month/year), el otro día (the other day), hace
dos días (2 days ago), en 1710.... etc
Examples: Él cenó, vio la tele y se acostó. He had dinner, watched TV and went to bed.
Ayer te llamé por teléfono. I rang you yesterday.
There are two sets of regular endings to learn:
1. -AR
2. -ER/ -IR
As with other tenses you have to:
1. take the infinitive.
2. take off the infinitive ending.
3. add the endings for the tense.
-AR endings
-é
-aste
-ó
-amos
-aron
-ER / -IR endings
-í
-iste
-ió
-imos
-ieron
Notice the ‘we’
ending in –AR
and –IR verbs
is the same as
in the present
tense.
Regular -AR verbs
hablar = to speak / talk
habl
é
I spoke, I did speak.
habl
aste
You spoke, you did speak.
habl
ó
He /she/ it spoke, did speak.
habl
amos
We spoke, we did speak.
habl
aron
They spoke, they did speak.
Regular -AR verbs
Choose 3 of the verbs below and write them out in full:
aceptar = to accept
amar = to love
arreglar = to fix
ayudar = to help
bajar = to go down
bailar = to dance
cantar = to sing
llenar = to fill
charlar = to chat llorar= to cry
dibujar = to draw mirar = to look at
entrar = to go in
saltar = to jump
ganar = to win
viajar = to travel
lavar = to wash
tomar el sol – to sunbathe
The preterite tense 5
The preterite tenseRegular
6 -ER verbs
comer = to eat
com
í
I ate, I did eat.
com
iste
You ate, you did eat.
com
ió
He / she / it ate, did eat.
com
imos
We ate, we did eat.
com
ieron
They ate, they did eat.
Regular -ER verbs
Practise saying or writing out these other verbs.
beber
= to drink
meter
correr
= to put
= to run
vender = to sell
coser
= to sew
The preterite tense 8
Regular -IR verbs
ABRIR= to open
abr
í
I opened, I did open.
abr
iste
You opened, you did open.
abr
ió
He / she / it opened, did open.
abr
imos
We opened, we did open.
abr
ieron
They opened, they did open.
Regular -IR verbs
Practise saying or writing out these other verbs.
Like ABRIR
batir = to beat
escribir = to write
cubrir = to cover
permitir = to allow
recibir = to receive
The preterite tense 11
Elige la forma del verbo más apropiada
• 1. (Tú) bebí/bebiste mucha Coca-Cola en la
cafetería.
• 2. (Zara) visitó/visitaron Marruecos.
• 3. (Nosotros) escribimos/escribieron unas
postales.
• 4. (yo) tomaste/tomé el sol en la playa.
• 5. (yo) compró/compré muchos regalos.
Stem changing verbs
The first group of irregular verbs are only slightly irregular as they show stem changes* in the
first person singular only. There are three types:
1. Verbs which end in –GAR change to GUÉ
2. Verbs which end in –CAR change to QUÉ
3. Verbs which end in –ZAR change to CÉ
jugar = to play
explicar = to explain
cruzar = to cross
jugué I played
jugaste you played
jugó he/she/it played
jugamos we played
jugasteis you played
jugaron they played
expliqué I explained
explicaste you explained
explicó he/she/it explained
explicamos we explained
explicasteis you explained
explicaron they explained
crucé I crossed
cruzaste you crossed
cruzó he/she/it crossed
cruzamos we crossed
cruzasteis you crossed
cruzaron they crossed
Stem changing verbs
The following verbs work in the same way. Can you write out three of them in full?
apagar = to put out
acercarse = to approach
cazar = to hunt
cargar = to load
atacar = to attack
empezar = to begin
descargar = to unload
buscar = to look for
organizar = to organize
entregar = to hand over
secar = to dry
rezar = to pray
llegar = to arrive
pescar = to fish
utilizar = to use
navegar = to sail
chocar contra = to crash into pagar = to pay
sacar = to take out
regar= to water
marcar = to score a goal,
tocar= to touch
dial a number
almorzar = to have lunch
Complete the sentences with the correct form of the
verb in the preterite tense
1. (I) ______________(comprar) un vestido bonito.
2. (you (singular) ______________( tomar) el sol.
3. (I) ______________( comer) chocolate.
4. (We) ____________( bailar) en las discotecas.
5. (Maria)_________________(pasar) una semana en
Valencia.
6. (I) _______________(ir) de vacaciones.
7. (We) ____________(ir) a Paris.
Irregular verbs in preterite- no
accents!
• Ir – to go / ser – to be
Fui- I went
Fuiste –you went
Fue – he/she went
Fuimos – we went
Fueron – they went
Hacer – to do/ to make
Hice – I did
Hiciste – you did
Hizo – he/she did
Hicimos – we did
Hicieron – they did
Tener – to have
Tuve
Tuviste
Tuvo
Tuvimos
Tuvieron
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