Grammar 1
The preterite tense
The imperfect tense
Using the imperfect and
preterite together
The imperfect continuous
The perfect tense
The pluperfect tense
Commands
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The preterite tense 1
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, anteayer,
la semana pasada, el mes/año pasado, el otro día, hace dos
días/semanas/meses, el domingo, en 1950, en Navidad…
Examples:
Viví cinco años en Madrid. I lived in Madrid for five years.
Él cenó, vio la tele y se acostó. He had dinner, watched TV and wen
to bed.
Ayer te llamé por teléfono. I rang you yesterday.
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The preterite tense 2
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
-ER / -IR endings
-é
-aste
-ó
-amos
-asteis
-aron
-í
-iste
-ió
-imos
-isteis
-ieron
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Notice the ‘we’
ending in –AR
and –IR verbs
is the same as
in the present
tense.
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The preterite tense 3 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 asteis
You spoke, you did speak.
habl aron
They spoke, they did speak.
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The preterite tense 4 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
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cantar = to sing
charlar = to chat
dibujar = to draw
entrar = to go in
ganar = to win
lavar = to wash
llenar = to fill
llorar = to cry
mirar = to look at
saltar = to jump
viajar = to travel
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The preterite tense 5
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The preterite tense 6
Regular -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 isteis
You ate, you did eat.
com ieron
They ate, they did eat.
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The preterite tense 7
Regular -ER verbs
Practise saying or writing out these other verbs.
beber = to drink
meter = to put
correr = to run
vender = to sell
coser = to sew
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The preterite tense 8
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The preterite tense 9
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 isteis
You opened, you did open.
abr ieron
They opened, they did open.
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The preterite tense 10
Regular -IR verbs
Practise saying or writing out these other verbs.
Like ABRIR
batir
= to beat
cubrir = to cover
escribir = to write
permitir = to allow
recibir = to receive
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The preterite tense 11
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The preterite tense 12
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
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The preterite tense 13
Stem changing verbs
The following verbs work in the same way. Can you
write out three of them in full?
apagar = to put out
cazar = to hunt
atacar = to attack
descargar = to unload
organizar = to organize
secar = to dry
llegar = to arrive
utilizar = to use
chocar contra = to crash into
sacar = to take out
marcar = to score a goal,
dial a number
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acercarse = to approach
cargar = to load
empezar = to begin
buscar = to look for
entregar = to hand over
rezar = to pray
pescar = to fish
navegar = to sail
pagar = to pay
regar= to water
tocar= to touch
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The preterite tense 14
Stem changing verbs
For verbs ending in -aer, -eer, -oír and -oer changes occur in the
3rd person forms (singular & plural): -ió changes to -yo;
-ieron changes to -yeron.
For verbs ending in -uir changes occur in the same way.
Verb
1st person
singular
3rd person 3rd person
singular
plural
caer* = to fall
creer* = to believe
leer* = to read
oír* = to hear
roer* = to nibble
destruir = to destroy
construir = to build
huir = to run away
caí
creí
leí
oí
roí
destruí
construí
huí
cayó
cayeron
creyó
creyeron
leyó
leyeron
oyó
oyeron
royó
royeron
destruyó
destruyeron
construyó construyeron
huyó
huyeron
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The preterite tense 15 Stem change verbs
-ar and -er verbs that change their stem in the present tense
do not change in the preterite.
Present
Preterite
cierro
cerré
cierras
cerraste
cierra
cerró
cerramos
cerramos
cerráis
cerrasteis
cierran
cerraron
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The preterite tense 16 Stem change verbs
-ir verbs that change their stem in the present do change in the
preterite.
1. o > u – the first change is o > u and it occurs in the third person
forms (singular & plural).
DORMIR
dormí
durmió
durmieron
MORIR
morí
murió
murieron
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The preterite tense 17
The second stem change group in -ir verbs.
2. e > i
Changes also occur in the third person forms (singular & plural).
PEDIR
pedí
pidió
pidieron
PREFERIR
preferí
prefirió
prefirieron
En el restaurante Paco pidió tortilla de jamón.
Paco asked for ham omelette in the restaurant.
Mis amigos pidieron una paella enorme.
My friends ordered an enormous paella.
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The preterite tense 18
What would the third person singular and plural be for
each of the verbs below?
despedirse de = to say goodbye to
divertirse = to enjoy oneself
hervir = to boil
pedir = to ask for
preferir = to prefer
rendirse = to surrender
repetir = to repeat
seguir = to follow
sentir = to feel, to be sorry
servir = to serve
vestirse = to get dressed
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se despidió
se divirtió
hirvió
pidió
prefirió
rindió
repitió
siguió
sintió
sirvió
se vistió
se despidieron
se divirtieron
hirvieron
pidieron
prefirieron
rindieron
repitieron
siguieron
sintieron
sirvieron
se vistieron
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The preterite tense 19
The last group of irregular verbs in the preterite tense is
easy once you have learnt the first person singular!
PONER = to put
puse
I put
pusiste
You put
puso
He / she / it put
pusimos
We put
pusisteis
You put
pusieron
They put
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There are no accents on
these verbs. Just learn the
first person and then put
the endings on the new
stem. The endings are
almost the same as for
regular -er and -ir verbs.
Can you spot the
differences?
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The preterite tense 20
Verbs which follow the same pattern as poner:
Verb
andar - to walk
estar - to be
obtener - to obtain
tener - to have
hacer - to do
poder - to be able
saber - to know
suponer - to suppose
venir - to come
querer - to love/want
conducir - to drive
traer - to bring
producir - to produce
decir* - to say
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stem
anduv
estuv
obtuv
tuv
hic
pud
sup
supus
vin
quis
conduj
traj
produj
dij
1st person
anduve
estuve
obtuve
tuve
hice
pude
supe
supuse
vine
quise
conduje
traje
produje
dije
Endings
-e
-iste
-o
-imos
-isteis
-ieron
Note:
hacer has a
different stem in
the 3rd person
singular – hizo
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The preterite tense 21 Some very important verbs!
hacer = to do / make
estar = to be
hice
hiciste
hizo
hicimos
hicisteis
hicieron
estuve
estuviste
estuvo
estuvimos
estuvisteis
estuvieron
I did / I made
You did / you made
He/she/it did / made
We did / we made
You did / you made
They did / they made
I was
You were
He/she/it was
We were
You were
They were
ser = to be
+
ir = to go
I was
You were
He/she/it was
We were
You were
They were
fui
fuiste
fue
fuimos
fuisteis
fueron
I went
You went
He/she/ it went
We went
You went
They went
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Notice ser and ir share the same forms© Boardworks Ltd 2006
The preterite tense 22
estar, ir, hacer and ser
Practise using the preterite of estar, ir, hacer and ser
by writing out these sentences in Spanish.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Yesterday I went to the cinema.
It was a fantastic film.
Before I went to the cinema I did my homework.
He was a great soldier and a wonderful father.
My grandfather went to Australia in 1960.
They went to the hairdresser’s.
The boys made their beds for the first time!
It was a great day and the weather was very
good.
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The preterite tense 23
estar, ir, hacer and ser
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Ayer fui al cine.
Fue una película fenomenal.
Antes de ir al cine hice los deberes.
Fue un gran soldado y un padre maravilloso.
Mi abuelo se fue a Australia en mil novecientos sesenta
(1960).
6. Fueron a la peluquería.
7. ¡Por primera vez los chicos hicieron sus camas!
8. Fue un día fantástico e hizo muy buen tiempo.
menu
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The imperfect tense 1
The imperfect tense is used to talk about the past. Whereas
the preterite describes a single completed action in the past,
the imperfect tense...
• describes something that happened frequently or regularly
in the past.
• is used for descriptions in the past, such as describing what
the weather was like or giving your opinion of something you
did (characteristics of people, things or conditions).
• tells us what something used to be like.
• describes something that went on for a long period of time.
• is used for telling the time.
• is used for telling one’s age.
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The imperfect tense 2
This tense is used in the following different ways:
1. To describe actions, people or things in the past.
2. To describe an action that started in the past and was
going on or continued in the past.
3. To describe actions that used to be done frequently in the
past.
4. To describe thing(s) which were going on in the past
before another event started.
5. For telling the time.
6. For telling one’s age.
The imperfect tense translates any of the following
English clue words or phrases:
I was eating.
We were talking.
I used to eat.
She was an interesting teacher.
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The imperfect tense 3 Main uses of the imperfect
1. General descriptions in the past.
Example:
La casa era enorme.
The house was enormous.
Describing what the weather was like.
Example:
De vez en cuando hacía sol.
From time to time it was sunny.
Giving your opinion of something you did.
Example:
Comí pollo, estaba muy rico.
I ate chicken, it was delicious.
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The imperfect tense 4
2. Saying what something used to be or would be like.
Examples:
– Cuando era joven, comía muchos caramelos.
When I was young, I used to eat lots of sweets.
– Cuando visitábamos a nuestros parientes nos daban regalos y
revistas.
When we used to visit our relatives they would give us presents
and magazines.
Both of these examples describe things and events that were
repeated in the past.
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The imperfect tense 5
3. Describing something that happened frequently or regularly in
the past.
Examples:
– Cuando tenía 10 diez años, hacía natación dos veces por
semana.
When I was 10 years old, I went swimming twice a week.
– Durante mis vacaciones del verano pasado me levantaba
temprano, desayunaba e iba a la playa.
During my holidays last summer I used to get up early, have
breakfast and go to the beach.
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The imperfect tense 6
4. Describing something that went on for a long period of time.
Examples:
– Cuando era joven, vivía en el campo y teníamos dos gatos.
When I was young, I lived in the country and we had two cats.
– Cuando íbamos al campo podía nadar en el río y dar un
paseo.
When we went to the country I could swim in the river and go
for a walk.
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The imperfect tense 7
5. For telling the time.
Example:
– Eran las dos de la mañana.
It was two o’clock in the morning.
6. For telling one’s age.
Example:
– El niño tenía tres años.
The boy was three years old.
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The imperfect tense 8
7. Was…doing and were…doing
If you want to translate was or were doing something, you must
use the imperfect tense. These are the clue phrases that help you
identify the tense and mean you must use the imperfect tense.
Examples:
– Hacía los deberes cuando mi madre regresó a la casa.
I was doing my homework when my mother came home.
– Jugábamos al fútbol cuando empezó a llover.
We were playing football when it started to rain.
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The imperfect tense 9
There are a number of useful words that can indicate the
use of the imperfect.
a menudo
algunas veces
cada día/ semana/ mes/ año
con frecuencia
de vez en cuando
frecuentemente
muchas veces
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por aquel entonces
siempre
todos los días/ meses/ años
todos las semanas
varias veces
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The imperfect tense 10
Regular verbs
The imperfect tense is quite easy to form and has very few
irregular parts. There are only two sets of endings to learn and
only three irregular verbs.
Formation of the imperfect tense
Take the following steps:
1. Take the infinitive of the verb you wish to use.
2. Take off the -AR, -ER or -IR.
3. Add the endings.
-AR endings:
-aba -abas -aba -ábamos -abais -aban.
-ER / -IR endings: -ía -ías -ía -íamos -íais -ían.
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The imperfect tense 11
All regular -AR verbs are formed in the following way.
HABLAR= to speak / talk
habl aba
I talked, I was talking, I used to talk.
habl abas
You talked, you were talking, you used to talk.
habl aba
He / she / it talked, was talking, used to talk.
habl ábamos
We talked, we were talking, we used to talk.
habl abais
You talked, you were talking, you used to talk.
habl aban
They talked, they were talking, they used to talk
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The imperfect tense 12
All regular -ER and -IR verbs are formed in the following way.
COMER = to eat
com ía
I ate, I was eating, I used to eat.
com ías
You ate, you were eating, you used to eat.
com ía
He / she / it ate, was eating, used to eat.
com íamos
We ate, we were eating, we used to eat.
com íais
You ate, you were eating, you used to eat.
com ían
They ate, they were eating, they used to eat.
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The imperfect tense 13
ABRIR= to open
abr ía
I opened, was opening, I used to open.
abr ías
You opened, were opening, you used to open.
abr ía
He / she/ it / opened, was opening, used to open.
abr íamos
We opened, we were opening, we used to open.
abr íais
You opened, you were opening, you used to open.
abr ían
They opened, they were opening, they used to
open.
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The imperfect tense 14
The good news about the imperfect tense is that all of
the verbs except three are regular. The three irregular
verbs are SER, IR and VER.
SER
IR
VER
= to
==to
go
tobe
see
iba
era
veía
eras
ibas
veías
era
iba
veía
éramos
íbamos
veíamos
erais
ibais
veíais
eran
iban
veían
I went,
saw, used
was,
usedtotosee.
be.
go.
you went,
saw, used
were,
usedtotosee.
go.
be.
he / she / it went,
saw, used
was,
usedtotosee.
be.
go.
we went,
saw, used
were,
usedtotosee.
go.
be.
you went,
saw, used
were,
usedtotosee.
go.
be.
they went,
saw, used
were,
usedtotosee.
go.
be.
leer = to read also does this.
leía
I read, used to read
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The imperfect tense 15
To summarize:
The imperfect tense is used for descriptions in the past
and the meaning of the imperfect tense can change
according to context and use.
(Yo) Iba a Madrid.
Could mean:
1. I went to Madrid.
2. I was going to Madrid.
Repeated action.
Action begun in past
and probably going to
be interrupted by
another event.
Frequent action
Frequent action
3. I used to go to Madrid.
4. I would go to Madrid.
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The imperfect tense 16
menu
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Using the imperfect and preterite together
These two past tenses are often used together especially for
stories or narratives in the past. Look at these examples and try
to use the tenses in a similar way.
– Cuando miré por la ventana llovía.
When I looked out of the window it was raining.
– Leía cuando el teléfono sonó.
I was reading when the telephone rang.
In each of these sentences:
(1) the verb in the preterite describes a single, completed action.
(2) the verb in the imperfect describes an action which was
already going on and which was interrupted by another action.
menu
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The imperfect continuous 1
The same kind of verb construction can be used with the
imperfect tense to describe continuous actions in the past.
This time the English phrase you are describing is
‘was doing something’ e.g. estaba comiendo – I was eating
To form the imperfect continuous in Spanish you need two parts:
(1) The imperfect tense of the verb ESTAR.
(2) The present participle of the verb you are emphasising.
To form the present participle*:
(1) Take the infinitive of the verb. Take off the -AR, -ER or -IR.
(2) Add -iando for -AR verbs or -iendo for -ER and -IR verbs.
Notice that you still use the present participle.
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The imperfect continuous 2
How to form the imperfect continuous tense.
COMER = to eat
Estaba comiendo
I was eating
Estabas comiendo
You were eating
Estaba comiendo
He / she / it was eating
Estábamos comiendo
We were eating
Estabais comiendo
You were eating
Estaban comiendo
They were eating
Now practise saying and writing out these verbs:
ABRIR
HABLAR
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The imperfect continuous 3
¿Sabes cambiar estos verbos del presente al
imperfecto progresivo?
con leche
la cafetería.
1. Juan y Ana beben
estabancafé
bebiendo
caféencon
leche en la cafetería.
mesa para
a suayudar
madre.a su madre.
2. Anita pone
estabalaponiendo
la ayudar
mesa para
revistas
en larevistas
clase de
3. Nosotros leemos
estábamos
leyendo
enciencias.
la clase de ciencias.
a muchos
4. Los camareros sirven
estaban
sirviendoclientes.
a muchos clientes.
en el jardín.
5. El gato duerme
estaba durmiendo
en el jardín.
fútbol enalelfútbol
parque.
6. Los niños juegan
estabanaljugando
en el parque.
se vistevistiéndose
en su dormitorio.
7. María estaba
en su dormitorio.
su telenovela
enpreferida
la tele. en la tele.
8. Mi madre ve
estaba
viendo supreferida
telenovela
el español en
instituto.
9. Yo aprendo
estaba aprendiendo
el el
español
en el instituto.
Vosotros cantáis
el coro. en el coro.
10. Vosotras
estabaisen
cantando
la cuenta.
11. El cliente pide
estaba
pidiendo la cuenta.
menu
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The perfect tense 1
The perfect tense describes what you have done or what has
happened.
Example:
¿Qué ha pasado? – What has happened?
To form the perfect tense in Spanish you need two parts:
(1) The present tense of HABER.
(2) The past participle of the verb.
To form the past participle:
(1) Take the infinitive of the verb. Take off the -AR, -ER or -IR.
(2) Add -ado for -AR verbs or -IDO for -ER and -IR verbs.
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The perfect tense 2
How to form the perfect tense.
HABER = to have; COMER = to eat
He comido
I have eaten
Has comio
You have eaten
Ha comido
He / she / it has eaten
Hemos comido
We have eaten
Habeis comido
You have eaten
Han comido
They have eaten
Now practise saying and writing out these verbs:
TOMAR
BEBER
VIVIR
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The perfect tense 3
Some verbs have irregular participles:
Verb
abrir - to open
cubrir - to cover
decir - to say
escribir - to write
hacer - to do
morir - to die
poner - to put
romper - to break
ver - to see
volver - to return
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participle
abierto
cubierto
dicho
escrito
hecho
muerto
puesto
roto
visto
vuelto
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The perfect tense 4
¿Sabes cambiar estos verbos del presente al
perfecto?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Pablo y Carlota comen
han comido
patatas
café
fritas
con en
leche
la cafetería.
en la cafetería.
Manuel pone
ha puesto
la mesa.
la mesa.
Nosotros jugamos
hemos jugado
al fútbol.
al fútbol.
Los chicos escriben
han escrito
cartas
cartas
a las
a las
chicas.
chicas.
Mi padre duerme
ha dormido
en el
enjardín.
el jardín.
Yo voy
he ido
al banco.
el español en el instituto.
Vosotros bebéis
Vosotras
habeis zumo
bebidode
zumo
naranja.
de naranja.
Juan ve
ha avisto
María
a María
en el en
cine.
el cine.
menu
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The pluperfect tense 1
The pluperfect tense describes what you had done or what had
happened before something else happened. Example:
Yo había salido cuando el hombre vino.
– I had gone out with the man came.
To form the perfect tense in Spanish you need two parts:
(1) The imperfect tense of HABER.
(2) The past participle of the verb.11
To form the past participle:
(1) Take the infinitive of the verb. Take off the -AR, -ER or -IR.
(2) Add -ado for -AR verbs or -IDO for -ER and -IR verbs.
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The pluperfect tense 2
How to form the pluperfect tense.
HABER = to have; COMER = to eat
Había comido
I had eaten
Habías comio
You had eaten
Había comido
He / she / it had eaten
Habíamos comido
We had eaten
Habíais comido
You had eaten
Habían comido
They had eaten
Now practise saying and writing out these verbs:
TOMAR
BEBER
VIVIR
menu
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Commands 1
Informal singular – tú
• Commands or imperatives are used when ordering or
telling someone to do something.
• If you need to tell someone what to do in Spanish, then it
is important that you use the correct part of the verb.
• If you want to give instructions to a friend, someone your
age, or to a member of your family, then it is best to use
the tú (singular) form of the verb.
• For all regular verbs, drop the -s from the end of the
normal tú form. Even most irregular verbs follow this rule.
Infinitive
hablar - to talk
comer - to eat
abrir - to open
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Present tense tú form
hablas - you talk
comes - you eat
abres - you open
Imperative
¡Habla! - Talk!
¡Come! - Eat!
¡Abre! - Open!
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Commands 2
Informal plural – vosotros
• If you want to tell a group of people (family, friends,
children) to do something, then it is best to use the vosotros
(plural) form of the verb.
• Simply take the infinitive form of the verb (the part that
ends in -AR, -ER, or -IR), take off the -r and add the
letter -d.
Hablar
Comer
Abrir
¡Hablad!
¡Comed!
¡Abrid!
This is the probably the form you will hear your
teacher use when he or she addresses the class as a
whole:
¡Mirad! - Look!
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Commands 3
Formal singular – usted
• If you want to express respect or to be polite, then it is
best to use the usted (singular) form of the verb.
• For all regular verbs, simply drop the -o ending from the
yo form of the present indicative and add the following
endings:
Hablo
Como
Abro
¡Hable!
¡Coma!
¡Abra!
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Commands 4
Formal plural – ustedes
• If you want to tell a group of people to do something
using the polite command, then it is best to use the
ustedes (plural) form of the verb.
• For all regular verbs, simply drop the -o ending from
the yo form of the present indicative and add the
following endings:
Hablo
Como
Abro
¡Hablen!
¡Coman!
¡Abran!
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Commands 5
Negatives commands /
Informal singular – tú
Telling someone not to do something is quite easy too!
1. Take the normal tú ending off the verb.
2.
Change the verb endings in the following way:
Use -ER endings for -AR verbs
Use -AR endings for -ER and -IR verbs
3. Finally just put the no in front of the
command word
hables!!
¡No hablas
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¡No comas!
comes
¡No abras!
abres
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Commands 6
Negatives commands /
Informal plural - vosotros
Telling someone not to do something is quite easy too!
1. Take the normal vosotros ending off the verb.
2. Change the verb endings in the following way:
Use -ER endings for -AR verbs
Use -AR endings for -ER and -IR verbs
3. Finally just put the no in front of the
command word
¡No habláis
habléis!
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¡No comáis!
coméis
¡No abráis!
abrís
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Commands 7
Negatives commands / formal
singular and plural – usted,
ustedes
The negative command forms of usted and ustedes are
very easy to make!
You only need to add the no in front of the usted and
ustedes command word.
USTED
¡No hable
hable!!
¡No coma!
coma
¡No abra!
abra
¡No coman!
coman
¡No abran!
abran
USTEDES
¡No hablen
hablen!!
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Commands 8
Afirmative command forms
Completa el siguiente cuadro con las formas del
imperativo afirmativo.
VERBOS Cruzar
Oír
Perdonar Seguir
Tomar
Torcer
TÚ
cruza
oye
perdona
sigue
toma
tuerce
USTED
cruce
oiga
perdone
siga
tome
tuerza
VERBOS
Cruzar Oír
Perdonar
Seguir
Tomar
Torcer
VOSOTROS
USTEDES
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Commands 9
Negative command forms
Completa el siguiente cuadro con las formas del
imperativo negativo.
VERBOS Cruzar
Oír
Perdonar Seguir
Tomar
Torcer
TÚ
USTED
VERBOS
Cruzar Oír
Perdonar
Seguir
Tomar
Torcer
VOSOTROS
USTEDES
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usted - PHGS