El pretérito y el imperfecto
Como y cuando usar los tiempos
pasados en español
El pretérito
• Generally speaking, the preterit is used for actions in the
past that are seen as completed. Use of the preterit tense
implies that the past action had a definite beginning and
definite end.
For example:
• Compré uno zapatos para mi hijo. I bought a pair
of shoes for my son.
• ¿Dónde comió usted ayer? Where did you eat
yesterday?
• Comí en casa de Carlos y hablé con su padre. I ate
at Charles’s house and spoke with his father.
El pretérito
•
The preterit is used for past events that
•
movies.”
The preterit is also used for incipient action,
happened once and at a
very specific moment in
time, such as “Last night I went to the
meaning action that we see
begin, such as "the sun came out" as
opposed to an imperfect weather statement such
as "It was sunny yesterday".
•
•
When action begins or ends (ex: “I
met Felipe. She graduated from college. The
class ended at 9:15.”) we use the preterit.
Furthermore, when action is
interrupted (ex: “We were golfing
when it started to rain.") the verb that stops the
action is in the preterit.
El pretérito
The conjugations
are as follows:
AR
-é
-aste
-ó
-amos
-asteis
-aron
ER/IR
-í
-imos
-iste -isteis
-ió
-ieron
El imperfecto
•
The Spanish imperfect usually translates into English as "used to" or "would" for
example:
– When we were young we USED TO EAT cereal. (We may still eat cereal today.)
– As a child we WOULD EAT cereal. (We might still.)
– In the sentence "As a child I lived in Chicago" the listener does not have enough
information to determine when the speaker arrived in Chicago or when he/she
left. It is possible that he/she still lives there.
•
The imperfect can also be used as a past progressive, such as "They WERE EATING".
•
The general rule is that if you do not know when the action began or ended, it takes
the imperfect.
•
However, there are some cases in the past that almost always take the
imperfect.
•
Unless you have a clear beginning (incipient action), use the imperfect to describe the
following in the past:
El imperfecto
• Age
Tenía 12 años cuando robé el primer
carro.
I was 12 when I stole my first car.
• Weather
Hacía buen tiempo cuando me
arrestaron.
It was nice weather when they arrested
me.
• Emotional states
Mi amigo estaba nervioso porque era
la medianoche.
My friend was nervous because it was
the middle of the night.
• What people were doing
WHEN something else
happened
Me duchaba cuando sonó el teléfono.
I was showering when the phone
rang.
• Habitual past actions
Íbamos a la playa cada verano.
We went [used to go] to the beach
every summer.
• Time
Eran las nueve de la noche.
It was nine o'clock at night.
El imperfecto
Words that are hints for using
Imperfect:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Siempre
Cada (año, día...)
Usualmente
Generalmente
Normalmente
En general
En el pasado...
El imperfecto
The conjugations are as follows:
AR
-aba
-abas
-aba
-abamos
-abáis
-aban
ER/IR
-ía
-ías
-ía
-íamos
-íais
-ían
El imperfecto
~BUENAS NOTICIAS~
Solo hay tres verbos irregulares en el imperfecto …
SER – era, eras, era, éramos, erais, eran
IR – iba, ibas, iba, íbamos, ibais, iban
VER – veía, veías, veía, veíamos, veíais, veían
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El pretérito y el imperfecto