• User Image
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest

The Preterite

Learn Spanish Online

Infographics of The Preterite

Introduction To Preterite Tense

UtterBug Background

The preterite, also known as preterite perfect simple, is a verb tense that focuses on events that occurred entirely in the Spanish past, it should be noted that its equivalent in English is the simple past.

In the formation of the preterite based on the regular verbs with termination in the particles -ar, this is eliminated and the terminations -é, -aste, -ó, -amos, -asteis, -aron are added in each concrete case. On the other hand, in the other verbs with endings in the particles -er or -ir, we proceed to substitute them with the endings -í, -iste, -io, -imos, -isteis, -ieron, where each one corresponds. Let's see.

It is important to remember that in the conjugations of "yo", "él/ella", the major differential factor of the verb is based on the accent or tilde corresponding to the syllable.

 Soñar (dream)Romper (Break)Dormir (Sleep)
YoSoñé (I dreamt)Rompí (I broke)Dormí (I slept)
Soñaste (you dreamed)Rompiste (You broke)Dormiste (You slept)
Él/EllaSoñó (He/She dreamed)Rompió (He/She broke)Durmió (He/She slept)
NosotrosSoñamos (We dreams)Rompimos (We broke up)Dormimos (We slept)
VosotrosSoñasteis (You dreamed)Rompisteis (You broke)Dormisteis (You slept)
Ellos/EllasSoñaron (They dreamed)Rompieron (They broke)Durmieron (They slept)

  • Me comí una deliciosa manzana. =I ate a delicious apple.

  • Peter fue a la piscina el sábado. =Peter went to the pool on Saturday.

  • Yo leí tres libros ayer.  =I read three books yesterday.

Examples of Preterite Tense

UtterBug Background
  • Bailé con tu prima. =I danced with your cousin.

  • No dormí con ella. =I didn't sleep with her.

  • Comimos en un restaurante. =We ate in a restaurant.

  • Pagaste la cuenta? =Did you pay the bill?

  • Caminamos por la playa. =We walked on the beach.

  • Ellos rompieron el silencio. =They broke the silence.

  • Ella cantó una dulce canción. =She sang a sweet song.

  • Hablamos hasta el amanecer. =We talked until dawn.

  • El redactó una carta para su padre. =He wrote a letter to his father.

  • Sus padres vinieron a vernos el lunes pasado. =His parents came to see us last Monday.

  • El abogado me defendió loablemente anoche. =The lawyer defended me commendably last night.

  • El carro me costó $15000. =The car cost me $15,000.

  • Hemos pensado en la situación toda la mañana. =We thought about the situation all morning.

  • Doctor, sentí fiebre anoche. =Doctor, I had a fever last night.

  • Ustedes compraron su casa en la pradera. =You bought your house on the prairie.

  • Tú te esforzaste muy bien el mes pasado. =You tried very well last month.

  • Ella se mudó a Francia el mes pasado. =She moved to France last month.

  • Pinté mi carro el fin de semana. =I painted my car over the weekend.

  • EL Señor Simón discutió con mi hermano ayer. =Mr. Simon argued with my brother yesterday.

  • Me disgusté con Marta hace una semana. =I got upset with Martha a week ago.

  • Usted leyó el libro toda la noche. =You read the book all night.

Additional Tips

UtterBug Background

It is important to note that in the whole structure of the expressions belonging to the simple preterite perfect, all their meaning is completely lacking connection or nexus with the present. 

A curious fact to close this topic, we find it in recent studies that have shown the decrease of its use in Spanish-speaking countries like Spain, Mexico and Chile but in the rest of Latin American countries has increased proportionally its use, the structural reasons are unknown, however, is an important fact to take into account in the study of the language.
  • Ellos hablaron por WhatsApp el viernes. =They talked about WhatsApp on Friday.

Related Lessons in Expert Course, to further your understanding.

UtterBug Benefits

The Imperfect Tense

UtterBug Benefits

The Perfect Tense

UtterBug Benefits

The Pluperfect Tense

UtterBug Benefits

The Passive

Explore a world of languages