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LEARN SPANISH "PRETÉRITO PERFECTO SIMPLE" (PRETERITE PERFECT SIMPLE) INDICATIVE MOOD



Before we study the "pretérito perfecto simple" (preterite perfect simple) we need to learn some basic concepts about Spanish verbs. Spanish verbs are always either regular or irregular as it happens with English verbs. All Spanish verbs end either in "-ar", "-er" or "-ir". These are the three Spanish conjugations.

 



Example

Hablar (to speak) Correr (to run) Añadir (to add)

To form the "pretérito perfecto simple" (preterite perfect simple) of the indicative mood, we need to take the verb as we find it in the dictionary. Then we will remove the last two letters and we will add the appropriate ending for each person.

Example

For the verbs ending in -ar:







yo (I) -é
tú (You) -aste
el, ella, usted (he, she, you formal) -ó
nosotros, nosotras (we) -amos
vosotros, vosotras (you all) -asteis
ellos, ellas, (they) ustedes (you all formal) -aron

 

Example: We take the verb "hablar" (to speak). We remove the "-ar": We are left with habl- (the stem) and then we add the personal endings.

 

hablar habl--
yo (I) hablé (I spoke)
tú (you) hablaste (you spoke)
el, ella, usted (he, she, you formal) habló (he, she spoke)
nosotros, nosotras (we) hablamos (we spoke)
vosotros, vosotras (you all) hablasteis (you all spoke)
ellos, ellas, (they) ustedes (you all formal) hablaron (they spoke)

 

For the verbs ending in -er:

 

yo (I) -í
tú (You) -iste
el, ella, usted (he, she, you formal) -
nosotros, nosotras (we) -imos
vosotros, vosotras (you all) -isteis
ellos, ellas, (they) ustedes (you all formal) -ieron

 

Example: We take the verb "correr" (to run). We remove the "-er": We are left with corr-  (the stem) and then we add the personal endings.

 

correr corr--
yo (I) corrí (I ran)
tú (you) corriste (you ran)
el, ella, usted (he, she, you formal) corr(he, she ran)
nosotros, nosotras (we) corrimos (we ran)
vosotros, vosotras (you all) corristeis (you all ran)
ellos, ellas, (they) ustedes (you all formal) corrieron (they ran)

 

For the verbs ending in -ir:

 

yo (I) -í
tú (You) -iste
el, ella, usted (he, she, you formal) -
nosotros, nosotras (we) -imos
vosotros, vosotras (you all) -isteis
ellos, ellas, (they) ustedes (you all formal) -ieron

 

Example: We take the verb "añadir" (to add). We remove the "-ir": We are left with añad- (the stem) and then we add the personal endings.

 

añadir añad--
yo (I) añadí (I added)
tú (you) añadiste (you added)
el, ella, usted (he, she, you formal) añad (he, she added)
nosotros, nosotras (we) añadimos (we added)
vosotros, vosotras (you all) añadisteis (you all added)
ellos, ellas, (they) ustedes (you all formal) añadieron (they added)

 

The differences between the persons "tú" (you), "vosotros" (you all), "usted" (you formal) and "ustedes" (you all formal) are explained in Spanish Personal Pronouns.

 

Spanish Irregular verbs explained, How to conjugate Spanish irregular verbs

 

The irregular verbs will be conjugated exactly in the same form, adding one of the following sets of endings, and there can be spelling changes in the stem of the verb.

 

yo (I) e, i, é, í
tú (you) aste, iste
el, ella, usted (he, she, you formal) i, o, í, ó, ió
nosotros, nosotras (we) amos, imos
vosotros, vosotras (you all) asteis, isteis
ellos, ellas, (they) ustedes (you all formal) aron, ieron

 

Example: We are going to take the verb "tener" (to have) which is a very good example of a "very" irregular verb as this verb practically does not follow the rules and is a typical example of verb that you need to study by heart.

 

Tener To have
yo tuve I had

tuviste

you had
el tuvo he had
nosotros tuvimos we had
vosotros tuvisteis you all had
ellos tuvieron they had




We are going to explain a few spelling rules for the irregular verbs when forming the "pretérito perfecto simple" (preterite perfect simple).

 

If the verb ends in "-car" the first person "yo" (I) will change the "c" of the stem of the verb for "qu".

Example

Aparcar (to park), the stem is "aparc" and the form for "yo" (I) in the "pretérito perfecto simple" (preterite perfect simple) is "aparqué".

If the verb ends in "-gar" the first person "yo" (I) will change the "g" of the stem of the verb for "gu".

Example

Pegar (to glue), the stem is "peg" and the form for "yo" (I) in the "pretérito perfecto simple" (preterite perfect simple) is "pegué".

If the verb ends in "-zar" the first person "yo" (I) will change the "z" of the stem of the verb for "c".

Example

Empezar (to begin), the stem is "empez" and the form for "yo" (I) in the "pretérito perfecto simple" (preterite perfect simple) is "empecé".

If the verb ends in "-eer" the third persons "él, ella, usted" (he, she, you formal) and "ellos, ellas, ustedes" (they, you all formal) will change the "i" of the corresponding personal endings for "y".

Example

Creer (to believe), the stem is "cre-" and the forms for "él, ella, usted" (he, she, you formal) and for "ellos, ellas, ustedes" (they, you all formal) in the "pretérito perfecto simple" (preterite perfect simple) are "él creyó" and not "él creió" and "ellos creyeron" and not "ellos creieron".

*Note: there are other spelling rules and many exceptions to those rules. So, once again with the irregular verbs: we need to study them by heart.

 

SOME GENERAL USES

 

We use the "pretérito perfecto simple" (preterite perfect simple) to talk about an action or event that took place at a specific point in the past. We can say exactly when it happened, or not, if we prefer so.

Example

 

Ayer fui al cine.

Yesterday I went to the cinema

Esta mañana fui al supermercado.

This morning I went to the supermarket

Trabajé para la misma empresa durante dos años.

I worked for the same company for two years

 

This last example shows that the action of working for the same company is finished although we do not specify when it started and finished.

 

The "pretérito perfecto simple" (preterite perfect simple) refers to a past action (finished) in a past time. This means that not only is the action finished but also the time when the action occurred is finished and past.

Example

 

La semana pasada leí un libro.

Last week I read a book

El año pasado viajé por Europa.

Las year I travelled around Europe

 

With the "pretérito perfecto simple" (preterite perfect simple) it is frequent to find in the sentence adverbs of time or time expressions specific to the past such:

Ayer (yesterday), anteayer (the day before yesterday), la semana pasada (last week), el año pasado (last year), hace dos años (two years ago), etc.

Example

 

Fuimos al cine ayer por la tarde.

We went to the cinema yesterday evening

Comió una comida china hace dos semanas.

He had a Chinese meal two weeks ago

Fueron a Australia el año pasado en sus vacaciones.

They went to Australia last year on their holiday





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