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Preterite vs. Imperfect

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by

Mackenzie Richins

on 28 May 2011

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Transcript of Preterite vs. Imperfect

Preterite vs. Imperfect Purpose: Spanish has two past tenses: preterite and imperfect. Most verbs can be put into either tense, depending upon the meaning. Review: To conjugate regular -ar verbs in the preterite, simply drop the ending (-ar) and add one of the following:
é
aste
ó
amos
aron To conjugate regular -ar verbs in the imperfect, simply drop the ending (-ar) and add one of the following:
aba
abas
aba
ábamos
aban Example: Hablar Preterite: Imperfect:
hablé hablaba
hablaste hablabas
habló hablaba
hablamos hablábamos
hablaron hablaban Rules Generally speaking, the preterite is used for actions in the past that are seen as completed. Use of the preterite tense implies that the past action had a definite beginning and definite end.
The imperfect is used for actions in the past that are not seen as completed. Use of the imperfect tense implies that the past action did not have a definite beginning or a definite end.
The preterite tells us specifically when an action took place. The imperfect tells us in general when an action took place.
To tell about time, age, and weather, use imperfect. To conjugate regular -ir/er verbs in the preterite, simply drop the ending (-ir/er) and add one of the following:
í
iste

imos
ieron To conjugate regular -ir/er verbs in the imperfect, simply drop the ending (-ir/er) and add one of the following:
To conjugate regular -ar verbs in the imperfect, simply drop the ending (-ar) and add one of the following:
ía
ías
ía
íamos
ían Example: Beber Preterite: Imperfect:
bebí bebía
bebiste bebías
bebió bebía
bebimos bebíamos
bebieron bebían Examples: 1. Juan habló dos horas.
Juan spoke two hours.
(action completed)

2. Las chicas hablaban en inglés.
The girls used to speak in English.
(no definite beginning or end)

3. Conocí a Juan hace cinco años.
I met Juan five years ago.
(completed action)

4. En aquella época conocíamos muy bien la ciudad.
At that time we knew the city very well.
(no definite beginning or end) Indicator words: Imperfect:
a menudo (often)
a veces (sometimes)
cada día (every day)
cada semana (every week)
cada mes (every month)
cada año (every year)
con frecuencia (frequently) Preterite:
ayer (yesterday)
anteayer (the day before yesterday)
anoche (last night)
desde el primer momento (from the first moment)
durante dos siglos (for two centuries)
el otro día (the other day)
en ese momento (at that moment)
Full transcript