Regular Preterite Verbs
The following lesson provides a summary overview of the preterite tense in Spanish. For deeper study, we have more in-depth lessons that cover this topic, starting with Preterite vs Imperfect I and Preterite I.
The preterite tense is used to refer to actions that occurred at a fixed point in time.
I called at 1:00.
Llamé a la una.
The preterite tense is also used to refer to actions in the past that were performed a specific number of times.
I called you twice.
Te llamé dos veces.
The preterite tense is also used to refer to actions that occurred during a specific enclosed period of time.
He lived there for 5 years.
Él vivió allí por cinco años.
The preterite is also used for actions that are part of a chain of events.
I bought a hat, sat down on a bench and fell asleep.
Compré un sombrero, me senté en un banco y me dormí.
The preterite is also used for sudden changes of mood, feelings or opinions.
At that moment, I was not afraid.
En ese momento, no tuve miedo.
The preterite is frequently associated with phrases that pinpoint a particular occasion or specific time frame.
ayer por la mañana
ayer por la tarde
the day before yesterday
desde el primer momento
from the first moment
durante dos siglos
for two centuries
el año pasado
el lunes por la noche
el mes pasado
el otro día
the other day
en ese momento
at that moment
hace dos días, años
two days, years ago
la semana pasada
If the action is in the past, and you can determine precisely when it occurred, or how many times it occurred, then you will use the preterite.
Regular forms of the preterite are formed by adding the following endings to the stem of the verb:
|-ar verbs||example: hablar|
|-er verbs, -ir verbs||examples: comer, vivir|