Past tenses
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Conjugated tenses:

root + Preterite Imperfect
  -ar     -er, -ir     -ar     -er, -ir  
yo -aba -ía
-aste -iste -abas -ías
usted, él/ella -ió -aba -ía
nosotros/as -amos -imos -ábamos -íamos
vosotros/as -asteis -isteis -abais -íais
ustedes, ellos/ellas -aron -ieron -aban -ían

preterite, simple past (pretérito indefinido, pasado simple):

imperfect (pretérito imperfecto):


Compound tenses:

perfect, present perfect (preterito perfecto):

haber + past participle   {he, has, ha, hemos, habéis, han} + root{ado, ido}

past perfect, pluperfect (pluscuamperfecto):

haber imperfect + past participle   {había, habías, había, habíamos, habíais, habían} + root{ado, ido}

past anterior, preterite perfect

haber preterite + past participle   {hube, hubiste, hubo, hubimos, hubisteis, hubieron} + root{ado, ido}

past perfect progressive:

estar past + gerundio

past imperfect progressive:

estar imperfect + gerundio

immediate past:

acabar present + de + infinitive – to have just [English past participle]


Using the past/imperfect tense of ir + a + infinitive can be useful, too:

Fui a comer paella – I went to eat paella

Iba a comer paella – I was going to eat paella

Iban a escuchar la radio – they were going to listen to the radio


English background:

‘preterite’ (adj, n) – expressing a past action or state, simple past tense or form <L praeter (past, beyond) + ire (go)

‘pr[a]eter-’ (prefix) – past, beyond <L; e.g., ‘preternatural’


Past tenses was last edited on 2021-02-22  
Topic: Spanish