In Spanish, there are three categories of verbs, and they are determined by the last two letters of the infinitive: -ar, -er or -ir. IE: hablar, comer, vivir.
The preterite tense is used in the following situations:
- To refer to actions that occurred at a fixed point in time, or during a specific enclosed period of time. IE: Ayer llovió (It rained yesterday). Trabajé allí 2 años (I worked there for 2 years).
- To refer to actions in the past that were performed a specific number of times. IE: Te llamé dos veces (I called you twice).
- For actions that are part of a chain of events. IE: Fui al supermercado, compré arroz y cociné una paella (I went to the grocery store, I bought rice and I cooked a ‘paella’).
- For sudden changes of mood, feelings or opinions. IE: No tuve miedo en ese momento (I wasn’t afraid at that moment).
Lucky you, there are only two sets of endings for regular preterit verbs, one for -ar verbs and one for both –er and –ir verbs. You will only have to drop the “-ar, -er, -ir” and replace it for the endings below:
REGULAR “-ar” VERBS (ie: Hablar):
REGULAR “-er” (ie: Comer) and “-ir” (ie: Vivir) VERBS:
I’ll come back with the irregular verbs another day! I hope this helped you understand the preterite for the regular ones. They’re all the same (with some exceptions) so once you know the “rule”, you got it 🙂
Share if you found it useful and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions! Also, if you live in Portland (OR), I could be your Spanish tutor 🙂 See you soon.