Preterite

Simple past tense

Learn Spanish-La Clave : The Preterit Tense.

Past actions that are completed...

The preterite is formed by taking the infinitive, dropping the last two letters, and

for -ar ending verbs adding...for -ir and -er ending verbs adding...

-é, -aste, -ó, -amos, -asteis, -aron -í, -iste, -ió, -imos, -isteis, -ieron

Spanish Preterite Rap

The preterite is used for actions that can be viewed as single events.

Ella caminó por el parque.
She walked through the park.

Ellos llegaron a las ocho.
They arrived at eight o'clock.

The preterite is used for actions that were repeated a specific number of times, or occurred during a specific period of time.

Ayer escribí tres cartas.
Yesterday I wrote three letters.

Vivimos allí por cuatro años.
We lived there for four years.

The preterite is used for actions that were part of a chain of events.

Ella se levantó, se vistió, y salió de la casa.
She got up, dressed, and left the house.

The preterite is used to state the beginning or the end of an action.

Empezó a nevar a las ocho de la mañana.
It began to snow at eight in the morning.

Now, for some simpler rules. With short verbs like dar and ver, the only irregularity in the preterite is one that you’ll find easy to accomplish: just forget to put the accent marks in! Because the words are so short, the stress falls naturally on the right syllable.

Dar

di

diste

dio

dimos

disteis

dieron

Ver

vi

viste

vio

vimos

visteis

vieron

Identical twins: ir and ser (I was or I went? Which is which? Use context clues!)

fui

fuiste

fue

fuimos

fuisteis

fueron

Preterite Song
02 Spanish Lesson - Preterite - Irregulars - Song!

Irregulars:


andar anduv-

estar estuv-

tener tuv-

caber cup-

haber hub-

poder pud-

poner pus-

saber sup-

hacer hic-

querer quis-

venir vin-

What about verbs that stem-change in the present indicative?

All the —AR and —ER verbs that stem change in the present (such as mostrar, almorzar, pensar, perder, tener, and entender) do NOT stem change in the preterite.


The –IR stem-changing verbs WILL stem change in the preterite, but only in the third person singular and plural. They follow the same rules as the present participles, except that all –o to –ue stem changers become –o to –u, and all –e to –ie stem changers become –e to –i.

Spanish Preterite Song