The Spanish Preterit

Friday, July 30, 2004

Learn Spanish

The Preterit Tense for Regular Verbs

Practice: < Recognition | Recall | None | Shuffle >

In Spanish, there are two verb forms used when speaking of the past. The preterit is the first of the two forms that you will learn.

For the regular -ar verbs, using comprar as an example, the preterit is constructed by adding the following endings to the verb stem:
compr + é = I bought
compr + aste = you bought
compr + ó = you (form.)/he/she bought
compr + amos = we bought
compr + asteis = you (fam. pl.) bought
compr + aron = you (form. pl.)/they bought

For the regular -er verbs, using aprender as an example, the preterit is constructed as follows:
aprend + í = I learned
aprend + iste = you learned
aprend + ó = you (form.)/he/she learned
aprend + imos = we learned
aprend + isteis = you (fam. pl.) learned
aprend + ieron = you (form. pl.)/they learned

And finally for the regular -ir verbs, using asistir as an example, the preterit is constructed as:
asist + í = I attended
asist + iste = you attended
asist + ó = you (form.)/he/she attended
asist + imos = we attended
asist + isteis = you (fam. pl.) attended
asist + ieron = you (form. pl.)/they attended

enseñéI taught
trabajasteyou worked
visitóyou (form.)/he/she visited
eschuchamoswe listened
enviasteisyou (fam. pl.) sent
pagaronyou (form. pl.)/they paid
comíI ate
conocisteyou knew, were aquainted with
creóyou (form.)/he/she belived
leimoswe read
bebisteisyou (fam. pl.) drank
vendieronyou (form. pl.)/they sold
decidíI decided
escribisteyou wrote
salóyou (form.)/he/she left
vivimoswe lived
recibisteisyou (fam. pl.) received
abrieronyou (form. pl.)/they opened
eschuchéI listened
enviasteyou sent
enseñamoswe taught
trabajasteisyou (fam. pl.) worked
visitaronyou (form. pl.)/they paid
leíI read
bebisteyou drank
vendóyou (form.)/he/she sold
comimoswe ate
conocisteisyou (fam. pl.) knew, were aquainted with
creieronyou (form. pl.)/they belived
vivíI lived
recibibisteyou received
abrieronyou (form.)/he/she opened
decidimoswe decided
escribisteisyou (fam. pl.) wrote
salieronyou (form. pl.)/they left

The Preterit Tense of Ser, Ir, and Dar

Practice: < Recognition | Recall | None | Shuffle >

The preterits for ser ir and dar are irregular.

fuiI am
fuisteyou were
fueyou (form.)/he/she was
fuimoswe were
fuistesyou (fam. pl.) were
fueronyou (form. pl.)/they were
fuiI went
fuisteyou went
fueyou (form.)/he/she went
fuimoswe went
fuistesyou (fam. pl.) went
fueronyou (form. pl.)/they went
diI gave
disteyou gave
dioyou (form.)/he/she gave
dimoswe gave
distesyou (fam. pl.) gave
dieronyou (form. pl.)/they gave

Preterit of Stem-Changing Verbs

Practice: < Recognition | Recall | None | Shuffle >

The preterit of stem-changing verbs that end in -ar or -er have no change in the preterit. However, those that end in -ir have a change in the third person singular and the third person plural. If the changing vowel in the stem is an e, it becomes and i in the third person singular and plural, if the changing vowel is an o, it becomes a u.

preferíI prefered
preferisteyou prefered
prefirióyou (form.)/he/she prefered
preferimoswe prefered
preferistesyou (fam. pl.) prefered
prefirieronyou (form. pl.)/they prefered
dormíI slept
dormisteyou slept
durmióyou (form.)/he/she slept
dormimoswe slept
dormistesyou (fam. pl.) slept
durmieronyou (form. pl.)/they slept

Some Irregular Preterits

Practice: < Recognition | Recall | None | Shuffle >

Sometimes the preterit form of common verbs are irregular and must be memorized.

tuveI had
tuvisteyou had
tuvoyou (form.)/he/she had
tuvimoswe had
tuvistesyou (fam. pl.) had
tuvieronyou (form. pl.)/they had
estuveI was
estuvisteyou were
estuvoyou (form.)/he/she were
estuvimoswe were
estuvistesyou (fam. pl.) were
estuvieronyou (form. pl.)/they were
pudeI could
pudisteyou could
pudoyou (form.)/he/she could
pudimoswe could
pudistesyou (fam. pl.) could
pudieronyou (form. pl.)/they could
puseI put
pusisteyou put
pusoyou (form.)/he/she put
pusimoswe put
pusistesyou (fam. pl.) put
pusieronyou (form. pl.)/they put
supeI knew
supisteyou knew
supoyou (form.)/he/she knew
supimoswe knew
supistesyou (fam. pl.) knew
supieronyou (form. pl.)/they knew
hiceI made
hicisteyou made
hizoyou (form.)/he/she made
hicimoswe made
hicistesyou (fam. pl.) made
hicieronyou (form. pl.)/they made
vineI came
vinisteyou came
vinoyou (form.)/he/she came
vinimoswe came
vinistesyou (fam. pl.) came
vinieronyou (form. pl.)/they came
quiseI wanted
quisisteyou wanted
quisoyou (form.)/he/she wanted
quisimoswe wanted
quisistesyou (fam. pl.) wanted
quisieronyou (form. pl.)/they wanted
dijeI said
dijisteyou said
dijoyou (form.)/he/she said
dijimoswe said
dijistesyou (fam. pl.) said
dijieronyou (form. pl.)/they said
trajeI brought
trajoyou (form.)/he/she brought
trajimoswe brought
trajistesyou (fam. pl.) brought
trajeronyou (form. pl.)/they brought
condujeI drove
condujisteyou drove
condujoyou (form.)/he/she drove
condujimoswe drove
condujistesyou (fam. pl.) drove
condujimosyou (form. pl.)/they drove
tradujeI translated
tradujisteyou translated
tradujoyou (form.)/he/she translated
tradujimoswe translated
tradujistesyou (fam. pl.) translated
tradujeronyou (form. pl.)/they translated

posted by Blair Fraser at 10:05 am