Grammar: Verbs - Past Tenses

Grammar: Verbs - Past Tenses

Regular Verb Conjugation in the Past Tense

  • Preterite Tense: A simple past tense, used to describe completed actions; used for events that happened once and then ended.
    • Regular -AR verbs: drop the -AR and add “é, aste, ó, amos, asteis, aron”.
    • Regular -ER and -IR verbs: drop the -ER/-IR and add “í, iste, ió, imos, isteis, ieron”.
  • Imperfect Tense: Used to talk about ongoing past actions or to describe situations in the past.
    • Regular -AR verbs: drop the -AR and add “aba, abas, aba, ábamos, abais, aban”.
    • Regular -ER/-IR verbs: drop the -ER/-IR and add “ía, ías, ía, íamos, íais, ían”.

Past Participle and Present Perfect

  • Past Participle: Used for completed actions, often used with “ser” or “estar” for different implications.
    • The past participle for -AR verbs is made by dropping the -AR and adding “ado”.
    • For -ER/-IR verbs, it is made by dropping the -ER/-IR and adding “ido”.
  • Present Perfect: This tense expresses what has happened recently and still impacts the present. It’s formed with the present tense of “haber” (he, has, ha, hemos, habéis, han) and the past participle.

Understanding Tenses and Irregular Verbs

  • Pasts Comparison: The Preterite is for complete and one-time past actions while the Imperfect tense is for continuous, repeated, or descriptive past events.
  • Irregular Verbs: Many common Spanish verbs are irregular in the preterite and imperfect tense. These include estar, ir, ser, tener, and venir. Learn their specific conjugations.

Practice Tips

  • Exercise frequently by writing sentences or short stories using these different past tenses to normalize their use within everyday contexts.
  • Practice conjugation with a variety of verbs into different past tenses. Familiarizing yourself with more verbs will build your confidence.
  • Use flashcards or online games to test your understanding and memorization of the different tenses and irregular verbs.
  • Apply a variety of past tense verbs in speech and writing. Correctly conjugating verbs in the past tense is a key skill that will improve your Spanish competency.