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Preterit vs. Imperfect
Transcript of Preterit vs. Imperfect
What you need to know and how
Preterit is used in completed, specific actions.
-é -amos -í -imos
-aste -asteis -iste -isteis
-ó -aron -ió -ieron
Accents are only on yo and el/ella/usted forms
Irregular Preterit Forms
1. Estar - estuv- 5. Saber - sup-
2. Tener - tuv- 6. Poner - pus-
3. Venir - vin- 7. Querer - quis-
4. Poder - pud- 8. Andar - anduv-
Endings ONLY in yo form
-e -imos -car...-qué
-iste -isteis -gar... -gué
-o -ieron -zar... -cé
Other Irregular Preterite Forms
Other Preterite forms have rules to the conjugations
Traer, Decir, Ser and Ir have different endings, especially in the ellos/ellas/ustedes form than from the normal endings
Hacer has a different conjugation in the ella/el/ud form
Dar and Var have different endings in the yo and el/ella/ud. form
Preterit vs. Imperfect
by Kaitlyn Baughman, Haley Scott, and Juliette Baldwin
Preterite Rule 1
Use the preterit tense to state specific actions completed in the past
Haley left the class and walked to the gym
Haley salió la clase y caminó a la gimnasio
Preterit Rule 2
Use the preterit tense to say an action that interrupts another action in progress in the past
She was going to do homework when she talked to me
Ella hizo la tarea cuando ella habló de mi.
Preterit Rule 3
Use the preterit tense to say what day it was or what the date was in the past
Yesterday was Tuesday
Ayer fue Martes
Preterit Rule 4
Use the preterit to state that you did not do something
I didn't go to school
Yo no fui a la escuela
Preterit Rule 5
Use the preterit tense to mark the beginning or the end of an action
She started to swim when she was 10.
Ella empecó a nadar cuando ella tenía diez años
Preterit Rule 6
Use the preterit to state an action that took place during a specific period of time
I had a phone for ten years
Yo tuve un teléfono por diez años
Preterit Rule 7
These words or phrases are commonly followed with actions in the preterit tense:
Un día, ese día, una vez, raras veces, el lunes/martes/etc., nunca
Imperfect is used for incompleted, continuous, and repeated actions
-ar -er and -ir
aba ábamos ía íamos
abas abais ías íais
aba aban ía ían
Irregular Imperfect Conjugations
Only 3 forms have irregular conjugations
Ir and Ser only have accents on the el/ella/ud. form:
Ir iba íbamos Ser era éramos
ibas ibais eras erais
iba iban era eran
Ver has accents on each form:
Ver veía veíamos
Imperfect Rule 1
Use the imperfect tense to say habitual actions in the past, without focusing on their beginning or end
She never left her house and watched television.
Ella nunca salia su casa y miraba la television.
Imperfect Rule 2
Use the imperfect tense to tell what time is was in the past
It was 4:30 in the afternoon
Eran cuatro y media en la tarde.
Imperfect Rule 3
Use the imperfect tense to 'set the scene', or describe actions that were in progress in the past
Haley was eating crackers and watching tv.
Haley comia una galletas y miraba tv
Imperfect Rule 4
Use the imperfect tense of estar and a gerund to express the past progressive
Cole was laughing when Seve fell
Cole estaba riéndos cuando Seve cagó
Imperfect Rule 5
Use the imperfect tense to describe the weather in the past
It was sunny and it was hot
Estaba soleado y hacía sol.
Imperfect Rule 6
Use the imperfect tense to describe physical or personality charecterisics of people in the past
Juliette was short and had dark hair.
Juliette era baja y tenía pelo castaño.
Imperfect Rule 7
Use the imperfect tense to describe physical or emotional states of being in the past
I was happy because I was swimming.
Yo estaba cansada porque yo nadaba.
Imperfect Rule 8
Use the imperfect tense (with ir+a+infinitive) to state a future action planned in the past (something that you "were going to do"
We were going to the kitchen but we swam instead.
Nosotros ibamos a la cocina, pero nosotros nadabamos.
Imperfect Rule 9
These words and phrases are commonly followed with actions in the imperfect tense:
Todos los días, cada años, mientras (que), siempre, muchas veces, and more
We hope you know how to tell the difference between the preterite and imperfect forms, the conjugations, and when to use them!