The Past Tenses of Spanish          E. Siler
Review Point• In the context of the two forms of “to be”  (ser/estar) we have already noted that there  are two past tense...
Focus• The expression of the past in Spanish routinely  includes use of the preterite and the  imperfect.
The Preterite  A Past Tense
English• English has the world’s simplest past tense.• We remove the “to” of the infinitive.• For a great number of the ve...
English continued• We also have a number of verbs that have an  irregular past tense form.• They don’t follow the “add –ed...
English Past Tense• Notice how neat and simple the English past  tense is.• Learn ONE form and you’ve learned the form  fo...
Spanish• If only Spanish were so simple!• The Spanish past tense is called the preterite.• The verb form changes for EVERY...
Spanish Preterite – AR verbs• Hablar (to speak): Remove the –ar and add  these endings. Note the accents. These are  impor...
Spanish Preterite – ER Verbs• Comer (to eat). Remove the – er and add  these endings. Note the accents. They are  importan...
Spanish Preterite – IR Verbs• Vivir (to live). Remove the –ir and add these  endings, which are the same as those for –er ...
Irregular Preterites• Just as in English, there are irregular preterites.• Because of the added complication of a differen...
Translation of the Preterite• The Spanish preterite translates (in most cases)  quite nicely as the past tense of the Engl...
The ImperfectAnother Type of Past Tense
Spanish• Spanish has another way of expressing the  past -- the imperfect.• Again, endings for the imperfect vary by the  ...
Spanish Imperfect – ar Verbs• Hablar. Remove the –ar and add the endings.  Note the accents!      Person     Singular     ...
Spanish Imperfect – er verbs• Comer. Remove the –er ending, add the  endings shown. Note the accents!     Person     Singu...
Spanish Imperfect – ir verbs• Vivir. Remove the –er ending, add the  endings shown (same as for the –er verbs).  Note the ...
Imperfect Irregulars• There are three Spanish irregular imperfects:  ser (to be), ir (to go), and ver (to see).• These are...
Translating the Spanish Imperfect• The Spanish imperfect translates best as either  the English past progressive or as a s...
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Sp600 l4

  1. 1. The Past Tenses of Spanish E. Siler
  2. 2. Review Point• In the context of the two forms of “to be” (ser/estar) we have already noted that there are two past tenses: the preterite and the imperfect.• We have also looked at the imperfect past tense of “haber” in the context of the compound tenses (yo había hablado con él > I had spoken with him).
  3. 3. Focus• The expression of the past in Spanish routinely includes use of the preterite and the imperfect.
  4. 4. The Preterite A Past Tense
  5. 5. English• English has the world’s simplest past tense.• We remove the “to” of the infinitive.• For a great number of the verbs all we do is add “ed” to the remaining simple verb form.• Sometimes we also make a small spelling change of a doubled final consonant.• Examples:watched; talked; romanticized; theorized; regretted; played; melted. (note: regretted)
  6. 6. English continued• We also have a number of verbs that have an irregular past tense form.• They don’t follow the “add –ed” rule. Examples: Read; sang; found; lost.• But one nice thing about English past tense forms: in any given verb, with ONE exception (the verb “to be”), the same form is used with all persons/numbers of the subject.
  7. 7. English Past Tense• Notice how neat and simple the English past tense is.• Learn ONE form and you’ve learned the form for all the possible subjects you can imagine. I walked to the store. We walked to the store. You walked to the store. You walked to the store. He/she/ or it walked to the They walked to the store. store.
  8. 8. Spanish• If only Spanish were so simple!• The Spanish past tense is called the preterite.• The verb form changes for EVERY subject pronoun AND the form changes are different according to the original infinitive (-ar/er/ir).• This amounts to more than 18 different endings in the preterite paradigm.
  9. 9. Spanish Preterite – AR verbs• Hablar (to speak): Remove the –ar and add these endings. Note the accents. These are important! Person Singular Plural First Yo habl[é] Nosotros/nosotras habl[amos] Second Tú habl[aste] Ustedes habl[aron] Usted habl[ó] Third Él/ella habl[ó] Ellos/Ellas habl[aron]
  10. 10. Spanish Preterite – ER Verbs• Comer (to eat). Remove the – er and add these endings. Note the accents. They are important. Person Singular Plural First Yo com[í] Nosotros/nosotras com[imos] Second Tú com[iste] Ustedes com[ieron] Usted com[ió] Third Él/Ella com[ió] Ellos/Ellas com[ieron]
  11. 11. Spanish Preterite – IR Verbs• Vivir (to live). Remove the –ir and add these endings, which are the same as those for –er verbs. Note the accents. Person Singular Plural First Yo viv[í] Nosotros/Nosotras viv[imos] Second Tú viv[iste] Ustedes viv[ieron] Usted viv[ió] Third Él/Ella viv[ió] Ellos/Ellas viv[ieron]
  12. 12. Irregular Preterites• Just as in English, there are irregular preterites.• Because of the added complication of a different ending for each person/number, it’s important to review them.• It is OUTSIDE the limits of a lecture to review every irregular Spanish preterite, but the following is a list of some of them. http://www.drlemon.com/Grammar/irreg-pret.html• The most important irregular preterites to remember are the ones for the verbs ir (to go), ser (to be), estar (to be), tener (to have/possess), hacer (to make/do), and decir (to say).• There are also “classes” of irregular preterites, preterites which take minor spelling changes (often in the first person singular or the third person). It is worth at least looking at this in the grammar: pp. 61-69.• Other irregulars are not as important, but I suggest you make a verb flash card for each of these VERY important irregular verbs.
  13. 13. Translation of the Preterite• The Spanish preterite translates (in most cases) quite nicely as the past tense of the English form.• There are a few Spanish verbs where the preterite meaning is somewhat different than the meaning of the verb in other tenses. For more on this see this link: http://www.drlemon.com/Grammar/pret- meaning.html as well as the bottom of p. 70 in the grammar.
  14. 14. The ImperfectAnother Type of Past Tense
  15. 15. Spanish• Spanish has another way of expressing the past -- the imperfect.• Again, endings for the imperfect vary by the form of the original infinitive and according to the person and number of the subject.• However, thankfully, the imperfect is MUCH more regular than the preterite.
  16. 16. Spanish Imperfect – ar Verbs• Hablar. Remove the –ar and add the endings. Note the accents! Person Singular Plural First Yo habl[aba] Nosotros/nosotras habl[ábamos] Second Tú habl[abas] Ustedes habl[aban] Usted habl[aba] Third Él/Ella habl[aba] Ellos/Ellas Habl[aban]
  17. 17. Spanish Imperfect – er verbs• Comer. Remove the –er ending, add the endings shown. Note the accents! Person Singular Plural First Yo comía Nosotros comíamos Second Tú comías Ustedes comían Usted comía Third Él/Ella comía Ellos/Ellas comían
  18. 18. Spanish Imperfect – ir verbs• Vivir. Remove the –er ending, add the endings shown (same as for the –er verbs). Note the accents! Person Singular Plural First Yo vivía Nosotros vivíamos Second Tú vivías Ustedes vivían Usted vivía Third Él/Ella vivía Ellos/Ellas vivían
  19. 19. Imperfect Irregulars• There are three Spanish irregular imperfects: ser (to be), ir (to go), and ver (to see).• These are high frequency verbs and should be learned cold.• The imperfect irregulars can be found here: http://www.123teachme.com/learn_spanish/ spanish_imperfect_tense_2 and/or p. 58 in the grammar.
  20. 20. Translating the Spanish Imperfect• The Spanish imperfect translates best as either the English past progressive or as a stative verb of indeterminate duration or as a “situation setting” past tense verb or as “used to.”• Examples: – Yo iba al mercado. (I was going to the store). – Juan hablaba inglés.(Juan used to speak English). – Había una vez una muchacha muy inteligente. (There was once a very intelligent girl).

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