The Spanish Preterite is used to refer or talk about past actions that have a concrete beginning and end in time. (See Spanish past tenses: Preterit and Imperfect).
In order to study how to conjugate this tense, we fist have to remember that Spanish verbs are divided in three categories:
- First conjugation verbs (-ar), i.e. cantar, amar, bailar
- Second conjugation verbs (-er), i.e. beber, correr, and
- Third conjugation verbs (-ir) i.e. vivir, escribir.
(Click on these verbal forms and listen!)
(He / She loved)
(He / She drank)
(He / She wrote)
(They - You loved)
(They - You drank)
(They - You wrote)
All Spanish Regular verbs are conjugated, in Preterite tense, according to these three regular verbs models on the table above.
To conjugate regular Spanish verbs in the preterite tense, we first take the root (stem) of the verb and then we add the corresponding tense / person ending. So, i.e., looking at "Amar", we take its stem (Am-) and add the corresponding ending (marked in red).
Note that First Conjugation regular verbs (those with infinitives ending in -ar), in this case, the verb Amar, have the same form for the first person plural (We / Nosotros) either in Present or Preterite tenses. That's it:
Verb Amar (First conjugation verb):
Nosotros amamos (We love) (Present tense) = Nosotros amamos (We loved) (Preterite tense)
Another point to help you remember this conjugation is that regular verbs belonging to the Second (infinitives ending in -er) and Third Conjugations (infinitives in -ir) have the same ending for the Preterite tense:
This is the basic information about the Spanish Preterite tense. Study this table, as it gives you the clue to conjugate most of the Spanish verbs in Preterite tense. In next lessons, we will study how to conjugate the Irregular Spanish verbs' Preterite tense.
For any question or comment, feel free to e-mail me or just post a message at the forum.
¡Que tenga un buen día!
'Click and listen' glossary: (alphabetical order):
|amar = to love|
bailar = to dance
beber = to drink
cantar = to sing
|correr = to run|
escribir= to write
hablar = to talk
vivir = to live
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