Learn Spanish

Regular Preterite Verbs


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 andir verbs. You will only have to drop the “-ar, -er, -ir” and replace it for the endings below:

REGULAR “-ar” VERBS (ie: Hablar):

Persona Translation Ending Example
Yo I Hablé
You-singular familar -aste Hablaste
Él/Ella/Usted He/She/You-singular formal Habló
Nosotros/as We -amos Hablamos
Vosotros/as You-plural familiar -asteis Hablasteis
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes They/You-plural formal -aron Hablaron

REGULAR “-er” (ie: Comer) and “-ir” (ie: Vivir) VERBS:

Persona Translation Ending Example
Yo I Comí/Viví
You-singular familar -íste Comiste/Viviste
Él/Ella/Usted He/She/You-singular formal -ió Comió/Vivió
Nosotros/as We -imos Comimos/Vivimos
Vosotros/as You-plural familiar -isteis Comisteis/Vivisteis
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes They/You-plural formal -ieron Comieron/Vivieron

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.


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