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    Preterite Tense Conjugations

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    Lyssarie
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    Preterite Tense Conjugations

    Post by Lyssarie on Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:15 pm

    On this page, you will find all of the information you'll need to learn how to conjugate Spanish verbs in the preterite tense. The preterite tense is used to describe any action has happened in the past and that has been completed. This can be a tricky concept, so click here if you want to learn when to use the preterite vs. imperfect. For example:

    I ran to the store last week.
    The girls bought clothes yesterday.

    The bolded verbs above are verbs in the past tense, and they have been completed. If we were to write the above sentences in Spanish, we would conjugate them according to the preterite tense rules. But what are these rules?

    In Spanish, there are generally three possible endings to a basic verb: -ar, -er, and -ir. Most verbs in the Spanish language end with one of these three endings, and each ending has a rule for how to conjugate it. Thankfully, verbs ending in -er and -ir follow the same rules, so we don't have to learn three different methods for conjugation.

    Also, conjugation depends on the subject of your sentence. In Spanish, there are usually six different types of subjects:

    yo  =  Inosotros   =  we
    tú   =   youvosotros   =   you all (Spain)
     él/ella/usted   =   he/she/it     ellos/ellas/ustedes   =   they      

    Now that you know the basics, you can start learning the rules of preterite tense conjugation! In the charts below, you will find information on how to conjugate in the preterite tense for -ar, -er, and -ir verbs based on what the subject of your sentence is.

    -ar verbs

    yo   =   énosostros   =   amos
    tú   =   astevosotros   =   asteis
       él/ella/usted   =   ó      ellos/ellas/ustedes   =   aron   

    • To conjugate -ar verbs in the preterite tense, you drop the -ar off of the end of the verb and add the ending that matches the subject of the sentence.
    • Example: In the sentence, "The girls bought clothes yesterday," the subject is girls and the verb is bought. The Spanish word for 'buy' is comprar, but the word 'bought' is the past tense, or preterite form of 'buy'. To conjugate this verb in the preterite to match the subject, 'girls', we would drop the -ar from 'comprar' and add the preterite 'ellas' ending, -aron. This turns the verb 'comprar' into 'compraron'. Therefore, the sentence, "The girls bought clothes yesterday," in Spanish will be, "Las chicas compraron ropa ayer."

    -er and -ir verbs

    yo   =   ínosotros   =   imos
    tú   =   istevosotros   =   isteis
       él/ella/usted   =   ió    ellos/ellas/ustedes   =   ieron    

    • To conjugate -er and -ir verbs in the preterite tense, you drop the -er or -ir off of the end of the verb and add the ending that matches the subject of the sentence.
    • Example: In the sentence, "I ran to the store last week," the subject is I and the verb is run. The Spanish word for 'run' is correr, but the word 'ran' is the past tense, or preterite, form of 'run'. To conjugate this verb in the preterite to match the subject, 'I', we would drop the -er from 'correr' and add the preterite 'I' ending, -í. This turns the verb 'correr' into 'corrí'. Therefore, the sentence, "I ran to the store last week," in Spanish will be, "Yo corrí a la tienda la semana pasada."
    • Example: In the sentence, "Mark lived in the United States last year," the subject is Mark and the verb is lived. The Spanish word for 'live' is vivir, but the word 'lived' is the past tense, or preterite, form of 'live'. To conjugate this verb in the preterite to match the subject, 'Mark', we would drop the -ir from 'vivir' and add the preterite 'he' ending, -ió. This turns the verb 'vivir' into 'vivió'. Therefore, the sentence, "Mark lived in the United States last year," in Spanish will be, "Mark vivió en los Estados Unidos el año pasado."

    And there you have it! That's all you really need to know about conjugating verbs in the preterite tense. However, there are a few irregular verbs that don't quite follow these rules, but we'll talk about those in a different lesson! Now, you're one step closer to knowing the Spanish language! Do you have questions? Click here to make a post and ask!

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