Preterite vs imperfect rules chart

Preterite vs imperfect rules chart DEFAULT

Preterite vs. Imperfect: the Past Tenses

The imperfect tense is used...

  • To describe habitual or repeated actions in the past.
    • Siempre compraba en la misma tienda. (I always went shopping at the same store.)
    • Mi abuela me escribía muchas cartas. (My grandmother would write me a lot of letters.)
  • To describe a condition or state of being in the past.
    • Estaba contenta. (She was happy.)
    • Había dos edificios aquí. (There used to be two buildings here.)
  • To describe an action that occurred over an unspecified time.
    • Hablámos por teléfono. (We were talking on the phone.)
    • Pasaba al perro. (He was walking the dog.)
  • To indicate time or age in the past.
    • Tenía 18 años. (She was 18 years old)
    • Eran las ocho y media de la mañana. (It was 8:30 in the morning)
  • To describe a person or place
    • Tenía el pelo largo y los ojos azules. (She had long hair y blue eyes.)
Sours: https://www.enforex.com/language/preterite-imperfect.html

Preterite vs. Imperfect

Many students have trouble knowing when to use the preterite tense or the imperfect tense, as they both refer to actions in the past. There are several general rules you can follow to know when to use one tense or another. Additionally, many Spanish phrases tend to be used only with the preterite or only with the imperfect, so memorizing them is very helpful! In this article, we’ll take a look at the general uses of both tenses, as well as helpful “trigger” phrases.

The Preterite

Generally, the preterite is used for completed actions (actions that have definite beginning and end points.) These can be actions that can be viewed as single events, actions that were part of a chain of events, actions that were repeated a very specific number of times, or actions that specifically state the beginning and end of an action.

Check out these examples:

examples

Fuial baile anoche.

I went to the dance last night.

Caminéal mercado,compréunos plátanos, yregreséa casa.

I walked to the market, bought some bananas, and returned home.

Tellamótres veces.

He called you three times.

Hablécon mi madre de las dos hasta las tres.

I spoke with my mother from two o’clock until three o’clock.

Useful Phrases that Trigger the Preterite

There are many helpful words and phrases that indicate specific time frames, therefore signaling that the preterite should be used. Here are a few:

one timethe other day
yesterdaythen
the day before yesterdaythe night before last
yesterday morningyesterday at noon
last nightlast night
this morningthis afternoon
last weeklast month
last yearat that moment
yesterday afternoonthis morning
(two) years ago(two) days ago
last (Monday)last week
for (three) centuriesfrom the first moment

Verbs that are Preterite by Nature

Some verbs used to talk about events with a very definite beginning and end are almost always used in the preterite. Here are a few examples.

to get marriedto graduate
to turn a certain ageto arrive
to realizeto die
to decideto be born
to discoverto leave

The Imperfect

The imperfect tense is generally used for actions in the past that do not have a definite end. These can be actions that are not yet completed or refer to a time in general in the past. It can also be used to talk about:

  • actions that were repeated habitually
  • actions that set the stage for another past tense event
  • time and dates
  • a person’s age in the past
  • characteristics
  • mental or physical states

Check out these examples:

examples

Cuandoeraniña,jugabacon muñecas.

When I was a child, I used to play with dolls.

Los chicoshablabanen español.

The boys were speaking in Spanish.

Estaba durmiendocuando el teléfono sonó.

I was sleeping when the telephone rang.

Cuandoteníatres años,eramuy pequeño.

When he was three years old, he was very small.

Useful Phrases that Trigger the Imperfect

Here are some helpful words and phrases that often signal that a verb should be used in the imperfect.

oftenfrequently
rarelysometimes
usuallyalways
at timeswhile
so many timesevery year
every daymany times
every weekall the time
frequentlyalmost never
a lotnever
generallyevery day
once in a whilefor a while
at that timeseveral times
Sours: https://www.spanishdict.com/guide/preterite-vs-imperfect-in-spanish
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Preterite vs Imperfect: Part IV

Notes:

  1. The written lesson is below.
  2. Links to quizzes, tests, etc. are to the left.

 

Here are all three regular preterite verb forms together:

hablarcomervivir
hablécomíviví
hablastecomisteviviste
hablócomióvivió
hablamoscomimosvivimos
hablasteiscomisteisvivisteis
hablaroncomieronvivieron

Note: The nosotros forms for -ar and -ir verbs are the same in both preterite and present tenses: hablamos, vivimos.

[Review This Topic]

Here are all three regular imperfect verb forms together:

hablarcomervivir
hablabacomíavivía
hablabascomíasvivías
hablabacomíavivía
hablábamoscomíamosvivíamos
hablabaiscomíaisvivíais
hablabancomíanvivían

[Review This Topic]

Generally speaking, the preterite is used for actions in the past that are seen as completed, while the imperfect tense is used for past actions that did not have a definite beginning or a definite end.

Juan habló dos horas.
Juan spoke two hours.
(action completed)

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

Another way to view this is that the preterite tells us specifically when an action took place, while the imperfect tells us in general when an action took place.

[Review This Topic]

The preterite is used in the following situations:

  • For actions that can be viewed as single events
  • For actions that were repeated a specific number of times
  • For actions that occurred during a specific period of time
  • For actions that were part of a chain of events
  • To state the beginning or the end of an action

[Review This Topic]

The imperfect is used in the following situations:

  • For actions that were repeated habitually
  • For actions that “set the stage” for another past action
  • For telling time
  • For stating one’s age
  • For mental states (usually)
  • For physical sensations (usually)
  • To describe the characteristics of people, things or conditions

[Review This Topic]

Ser, ir, dar and hacer are irregular in the preterite:

serirdarhacer
fuifuidihice
fuistefuistedistehiciste
fuefuediohizo
fuimosfuimosdimoshicimos
fuisteisfuisteisdisteishicisteis
fueronfuerondieronhicieron

Note: This is not a typo; ser and ir do have identical conjugations in the preterite!

[Review This Topic]

There are only three irregular verbs in the imperfect:

serirver
eraibaveía
erasibasveías
eraibaveía
éramosíbamosveíamos
eraisibaisveíais
eranibanveían

[Review This Topic]

Some words and phrases indicate specific time frames, and therefore signal the use of the 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)
entonces (then)
esta mañana (this morning)
esta tarde (this afternoon)
la semana pasada (last week)
el mes pasado (last month)
el año pasado (last year)
hace dos días, años (two days, years ago)
ayer por la mañana (yesterday morning)
ayer por la tarde (yesterday afternoon)

[Review This Topic]

Other words and phrases indicate repetitive, vague or non-specific time frames, and therefore signal the use of the 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)
de vez en cuando (from time to time)
en aquella época (at that time)
frecuentemente (frequently)
generalmente (usually)
muchas veces (many times)
mucho (a lot)
nunca (never)
por un rato (for awhile)
siempre (always)
tantas veces (so many times)
todas las semanas (every week)
todos los días (every day)
todo el tiempo (all the time)
varias veces (several times)

[Review This Topic]

-ar and -er verbs that change their stem in the present tense do not change in the preterite. They are conjugated just like other regular preterite verbs.

PresentPreterite
cerrarcerrar
cierrocerré
cierrascerraste
cierracerró
cerramoscerramos
cerráiscerrasteis
cierrancerraron

[Review This Topic]

-ir verbs that change their stem in the present tense do change in the preterite, but in a different way. They change e:i and o:u in the third person, singular and plural.

PresentPreterite
preferirpreferir
prefieropreferí
prefierespreferiste
prefiereprefirió
preferimospreferimos
preferíspreferisteis
prefierenprefirieron
PresentPreterite
dormirdormir
duermodormí
duermesdormiste
duermedurmió
dormimosdormimos
dormísdormisteis
duermendurmieron

[Review This Topic]

There are a number of orthographic changing verbs in the preterite:

  • Verbs that end in -gar change g to gu
  • Verbs that end in -car change c to qu
  • Verbs that end in -zar change z to c
  • Verbs that end in -aer, -eer, -oír, -oer, and uir change ió to yó and ieron to yeron

[Review This Topic]

Here are three more verbs that are irregular in the preterite:

decirtraerver
dijetrajevi
dijistetrajisteviste
dijotrajovio
dijimostrajimosvimos
dijisteistrajisteisvisteis
dijerontrajeronvieron

[Review This Topic]

Verbs that end in -ucir are irregular and conjugated as follows:

producir

produje
produjiste
produjo
produjimos
produjisteis
produjeron

[Review This Topic]

There are a number of verbs that are irregular in the preterite that follow a particular pattern. The pattern is that while their stems change, they all take the following endings:

-e
-iste
-o
-imos
-isteis
-ieron

Here are the verbs, along with their corresponding stem changes:

InfinitiveStem Change
andaranduv-
estarestuv-
tenertuv-
cabercup-
haberhub-
poderpud-
ponerpus-
sabersup-
hacerhic-
quererquis-
venirvin-

Exception: hacer (el/ella/usted hizo)

[Review This Topic]

Some verbs actually change meaning, depending upon whether they are used in the preterite or the imperfect. This is not surprising, since the difference in meaning can be traced back to the different way in which these two past tenses are used.

conocer

Conocí a Juan hace cinco años.

I met Juan five years ago.
(completed action)

En aquella época conocíamos muy bien la ciudad.

At that time we knew the city very well.
(no definite beginning or end)

querer

María quiso comprar la casa.

Maria tried to buy the house.
(completed action)

Juan quería comprar la casa.

Juan wanted to buy the house.
(no definite beginning or end)

no querer

María no quiso comprar la casa.

Maria refused to buy the house.
(completed action)

Juan no quería comprar la casa.

Juan did not want to buy the house.
(no definite beginning or end)

saber

María lo supo ayer.

Maria found out yesterday.
(completed action)

Juan sabía que María venía.

Juan knew that Maria was coming.
(no definite beginning or end)

poder

María pudo levantar la mesa.

Maria succeeded in lifting the table.
(completed action)

Juan podía participar en la manifestación.

Juan was able to participate in the demonstration.
(no definite beginning or end)

tener

María tuvo una carta de su mamá.

Maria received a letter from her mom.
(completed action)

Juan tenía un coche nuevo.

Juan used to have a new car.
(no definite beginning or end)

[Review This Topic]

Sours: https://studyspanish.com/grammar/lessons/pretimp4
Spanish Past Tense: Preterite vs Imperfect

Preterite vs. Imperfect Tense (Which to Use & When)

To be honest, learning the differences between the two Spanish past tenses was ridiculously difficult for me, as I had lived my whole life speaking English, where verb tenses are not nearly as clearly defined. Today, I'll make it easier for you by explaining the differences that I learned as I was mastering Spanish verb tenses.

Here's a little help from our friend Jordan at Gringo Español

Spanish Preterite Tense

The preterite is used when referring to actions that were completed in the past. When you use the preterite, it also implies that the action had a definite beginning and a definite end. In English, you might say a sentence like Yesterday I cleaned the house for two hours—in this sentence, the timeframe is very specific. Translating this sentence into Spanish, you would use the preterite tense. Another example of the preterite might be I ate five strawberries.

Preterite -ar endings

For regular -ar verbs, to form the preterite you drop the -ar and replace it with the correct preterite ending.  Here's an example with the verb caminar (to walk):

Infinitive Verb

-Ar Ending

+ Preterite Ending

Preterite Verb

Yo

Caminar

camin

caminé

Caminar

camin

+aste

caminaste

Él/ella/usted

Caminar

camin

caminó

Nosotros

Caminar

camin

+amos

caminamos

Vosotros

Caminar

camin

+asteis

caminasteis

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Caminar

camin

+aron

caminaron

Preterite -er/ir endings

We do the same thing will verbs ending in -er and -ir.  Here's an example with the verb comer (to eat):

Infinitive Verb

-Er/Ir Ending

+ Preterite Ending

Preterite Verb

Yo

Comer

Com

comí

Comer

Com

+iste

comiste

Él/ella/usted

Comer

Com

+ió

comió

Nosotros

Comer

Com

+imos

comimos

Vosotros

Comer

Com

+isteis

comisteis

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Comer

Com

+ieron

comieron

Irregular Preterite Verbs

Of course, some verbs will have irregular conjugations in the preterite. Some of the most common of these include: ser, ir, dar, hacer, estar, poner, tener, haber, querer, venir, andar, poder, and saber. You will need to memorize the six preterite forms for each of these irregular verbs.

Irregular Preterite Verbs


Spanish Imperfect Tense

The imperfect is used to denote an action that took place in the past, but the specifics of the timeframe are left up in the air. We use the imperfect in English, too.

For example:

They were eating dinner when I arrived.

Using "were" plus the gerund denotes the imperfect past in English. Here, we know that the action of eating dinner took place in the past, but it does not have a definite beginning or end, nor does it matter for the sentence's purpose.  We don't know when they stopped eating dinner, but in this sentence it doesn't matter because we are more focused on the fact that they were eating.

Another example of the imperfect in English might be:

I used to go fishing with my dad. 

"I used to go" denotes that something used to occur before but now it doesn't.  Again when using the imperfect we don't care so much about the details of what happened (when I do, how did I, when did I stop going) the important fact in this sentence is that there was a time when I would go but I no longer go anymore.

Imperfect -ar endings

When forming the imperfect for a regular -ar verb, drop the -ar just like in the preterite conjugation but this time we add the imperfect ending.  Here's an example using caminar again:

Infinitive Verb

-Ar Ending

+ Imperfect Ending

Imperfect Verb

Yo

Caminar

camin

+aba

caminaba

Caminar

camin

+abas

caminabas

Él/ella/usted

Caminar

camin

+aba

caminaba

Nosotros

Caminar

camin

+abamos

caminábamos

Vosotros

Caminar

camin

+abais

caminabais

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Caminar

camin

+aban

caminaban

Imperfect -er/-ir endings

Same deal with -er/-ir endings, just drop the infinitive ending and add the imperfect. Here's an example using comer again:

Infinitive Verb

-Er/Ir Ending

+Imperfect 

Ending

Imperfect 

Verb

Yo

Comer

Com

+ía

comía

Comer

Com

+ías

comías

Él/ella/usted

Comer

Com

+ía

comía

Nosotros

Comer

Com

+íamos

comíamos

Vosotros

Comer

Com

+íais

comíais

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes

Comer

Com

+ían

comían

Irregular Imperfect Verbs

Luckily, there are only three verbs that are irregular in the imperfect past: ser, ver, and ir.

Irregular Imperfect Verbs


Some Verbs Change Meaning Depending on Tense

For some verbs, using it in the preterite versus the imperfect can create a slightly different meaning. Compare the translations of these sentences in the preterite versus in the imperfect:

Enter your text here...

Conocer

Saber

Tener

Querer

No Querer

Poder

No Poder

Preterite

Conocí al primer ministro.

(I met the prime minister).

Ya superion de la película.

(They already found out about the movie.)

Tuvo una carta de su abuela.

(He received a letter from his grandmother.)

Quise encontrar el libro.

(I tried to find the book.)

Yo no quise ir al supermercado.

(I refused to go to the supermarket.)

Pudieron comprar un carro.

(They succeeded in buying a car.)

No pudimos abrir la puerta.

(We failed to open the door.)​

Imperfect

Conocía al primer ministro.

(I knew the prime minister).

Ya sabían de la película.

(They already knew about the movie.)​

Tenía una carta de su abuela.

(He had a letter from his grandmother.​)

Quería encontrar el libro.

​(I wanted to find the book.)

Yo no quería ir al supermercado.

​(I did not want to go to the supermarket.)

Podían comprar un carro.

(They were able to buy a car.)

No podíamos abrir la puerta.

(We weren't able to open the door.)

Distinguishing Between Preterite and Imperfect

What you did  vs What you were doing

The basic rule of thumb when it comes to figuring out which tense to use is that the preterite talks about things you did, and the imperfect talks about things you were doing at some point in time, or that you used to do. With some practice, this is fairly easy to remember. Consider these examples:

Toqué el piano - I played the piano (and I finished the action).

Yo tocaba el piano - I used to play the piano; or, you are saying that you were playing the piano when setting the scene for a story.

Yo tocaba la guitarra (true story)

Me comí la manzana - I ate the apple. The action is complete.

Yo comía la manzana - I was eating the apple (when something else happened).

Yo leí el libro - I read the book (and now I'm done).

Yo leía el libro - I was reading the book (and the start and end times don't matter).

What happened vs The way things were

Another way to look at it is that the preterite is for talking about things that happened in the past, while the imperfect is for the way things were in the past. Using the same sentences:

Toqué el piano - I played the piano (yesterday, or that night, or whatever specific timeframe context provides)

Yo tocaba el piano - I used to play the piano at some point in the past, but I don't anymore.

Me comí la manzana - I ate the apple (yesterday night).

Yo comía manzanas - I used to eat apples (and maybe I don't anymore).

Yo leí el libro - I read the book.

Yo leía libros - I used to read books.

Use context clues

When reading or listening to Spanish, you can use context clues to figure out whether a verb phrase is in the preterite or imperfect tense. Certain temporal phrases are associated with either the preterite or the imperfect. You can also learn these phrases to help you express yourself better.

Phrases that hint toward the preterite:

ayer - yesterday

anoche - last night

después - afterward

durante dos semanas - for two weeks

el mes pasado - last monthel

otro día - the other day

en ese momento - at that moment

entonces - then

esta tarde - this afternoon

hace dos días - two days ago

Phrases that hint toward the Imperfect:

a menudo - often

a veces - sometimes

cada día - every day

muchas veces - many times

nunca - never

siempre - always

todos los días - every day

todo el tiempo - all the time

varias veces - several times

Mastering the Two Spanish Past Tenses

Practice make perfect

One of the most efficient ways to master any Spanish grammatical concept is to practice with another person who can give you feedback and constructive criticism. Story-telling is an excellent form of practicing verb tenses.

Try telling a story to your tutor or friend and having them correct you on your mistakes. Then, have them tell you a story in return, and pay attention to their choice of verb tense.

Another way you can get the hang of Spanish grammar is to watch your favorite TV shows and movies, but turn on Spanish subtitles. Pay attention to the sentences in English that are past tense, and make note of which verb tense they use in the Spanish subtitle.

Other media, such as Spanish-language movies or even videos like these can solidify your Spanish skills. Practice quizzes are also enormously helpful, such as this one.

Conclusion

Distinguishing between the preterite and the imperfect is one of the most challenging aspects of learning Spanish, and it's also one the most important.  That being said, it's not impossible.  With a little know how and a lot of practice you should be able to use both with no problems

Leave a comment if you have any questions about these two slightly tricky verb forms!

Sours: https://spanishhackers.com/preterite-vs-imperfect-tense/

Imperfect preterite chart vs rules

Finish-a-a-yu-u-u. She fell on Sergei, pressing her face against the broad and hairy daddy's chest. Her eyes were insane, her whole body was covered with fine perspiration. Sergei also ended violently, holding his daughter's buttocks with his hands, spreading them widely and with force continuing to push on himself.

02 Spanish Lesson - preterite vs imperfect (part 1)

"On that we decided. I bought a bottle of champagne, fruit and began to wait impatiently. When she knocked on the door quietly entered the room, I hugged her and kissed her, opened the champagne and we drank to our common desire. I spread the bed and slowly began to undress her, took off her thin robe under it there was only her naked nice plump little.

Body.

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The woman was sitting on a blood-soaked road, leaning against a car wheel, and clutching a terrible wound on her neck with her hands. The man was lying next to him on his side, his legs pressed to his stomach. The handle of a kitchen knife protruded from his stomach, the blade went into the body entirely. One of the policemen urgently called an ambulance, and the other began to bandage the woman.

An ambulance arrived quickly, but they could no longer help Kirill.



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