The preterite tense is what you’ll use to talk about actions and events in the past. When you use the preterite (as opposed to some other past tenses), you drop actions into a moment in time: beginnings and endings, starts and stops, the day you climbed that mountain, or when you attended that unforgettable concert. When you’re narrating a story, this is the tense that moves the plot forward.
The preterite tense in Spanish often resonates well with English speakers due to its straightforward nature. Think of simple past actions like 'I stood up,' 'He woke up,' or 'They fell off their bike.' While the preterite has its nuances, starting with the regular verbs will simplify the learning process.
These are the regular verb endings for the preterite tense:
What do you notice about ‑ER and ‑IR endings? That’s right! They’re identical in their preterite tense conjugations. Phew. That saves…a little bit of room in your brain. Don’t worry; we’ll find something to fit in there soon. That was straightforward enough. Moving on.
Once again, we'll break the infinitives in half (like HABL+AR). Then we'll use the ‑AR (or ‑ER or ‑IR) to tell us which endings to choose, and stick the right endings on the stem:
Below are some common examples of ways you might use the preterite tense in the real world:
The only way to master these verbs is through targeted practice. Fortunately for you, VerbMaster’s intelligent tutoring system makes conjugation practice a breeze!
In this session, you’ll practice conjugating hablar, comer, and vivir in the preterite tense. So what are you waiting for? Get to studying, you’re on your way to becoming a VerbMaster!
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