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  • 1. Chapter 7 The Preterite (Past) Tense of Verbs
  • 2. What does the “preterite” mean?
    • “ Preterite” is simply the technical term for the “past” when it comes to verb tenses. You use the preterite tense all the time, even if you haven’t ever heard the term.
  • 3. How is it formed in Spanish?
    • It’s pretty simple: You merely have to change the endings that you have been using in the present tense. There is a set of endings for -ar verbs, and a very similar set for -er verbs.
  • 4. So what are these endings?
    • For -ar verbs, the endings in the preterite tense look like this:
    • - é -amos (no change here)
    • -aste
    • -ó -aron
  • 5. How does this look with a verb?
    • Let’s use the verb “bailar” for example:
    • bail é (I danced) bailamos (we danced)
    • bailaste (you danced)
    • bail ó (he/she danced) bailaron (they/you guys danced)
  • 6. A note about the nosotros form
    • You may have noticed that the nosotros form is the same in both the present and the preterite tense. When reading and writing in this form, you have the use the context of the sentence (and/or entire paragraph) to distinguish the tense of the verb.
  • 7. What about the -er verbs?
    • The endings for -er verbs look like this:
    • - í -imos
    • -iste
    • -ió -ieron
  • 8. And in a verb?
    • We’ll use the verbs comer and compartir:
    • com í (I ate) comimos (we ate)
    • comiste (you ate)
    • comió (he/she ate) comieron (they ate)
    • compartí (I shared) compartimos (we shared)
    • compartiste (you shared)
    • compartió (he/she shared) compartieron (they shared)
  • 9. A couple of caveats:
    • There are three types of verbs that end in -ar that are special cases when it comes to the preterite tense. These are the verbs that end in -car, -gar, and -zar.
    • Their endings change in the “yo” form of the preterite.
  • 10. Here’s what I mean:
    • A verb like sacar is not “sac é” in the preterite. We have to preserve the hard “k” sound in the preterite tense. So, to say “I got” we write “saqué”
  • 11. And in the other two…
    • A verb like jugar becomes “jugu é” in the preterite tense yo form…
    • … and a verb like empezar becomes “empecé” in the preterite tense yo form.
  • 12. One last (irregular) verb
    • The verb hacer is especially irregular in the preterite tense. Here are its forms, you need to simply memorize them.
    • hice hicimos
    • hiciste
    • hizo hicieron
  • 13. Oh wait! Just one more thing!
    • Two forms of the preterite tense of “leer” change spellings. Please note them as you will more than likely see them on a test.
    • le í leímos
    • leiste
    • ley ó leyeron
  • 14. That’s it!
    • Always remember to email me at [email_address] if you have any questions. All of the information that you have just seen comes directly from pages 194-196 in your textbook.