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Spanish Lessons – Verb Tenses: Preterite, Imperfect & Perfect

Both tenses refer to actions in the past, and many people have trouble knowing when to use one tense or another. Follow the general rules to know when to use Preterite or Imperfect tense.

Verb Tenses Preterite, Imperfect & Perfect

Spanish people use them quite a lot and you will also do if you enroll in our >> Conversational Spanish Courses <<.

Imperfect (Pretérito imperfecto)

Cuando yo era pequeño me levantaba a las siete y desayunaba cereales. Era un niño muy bueno.

Example of Imperfect

It is used for routines in the past, descriptions, feelings…

Preterite (Pretérito indefinido)

Ayer, yo me levanté a las diez y desayuné tostadas.

Example of Preterite

Normally, the preterite is used for completed actions (that have definite beginning and endpoints).

If these videos are too quick for you or you do not understand them…

If the videos are too quick for you, use the playback speed and captions buttons for slow motion and subtitles. It is advisable that you listen to Spanish people talking. If you are a complete beginner, join our Spanish Lessons and contact Susana for advising 661 74 36 45.

VIDEO: Differences between Preterite and Imperfect – Beginners (basic level)

Watch this video to find out how to choose between both tenses, and learn how to use them properly.

VIDEO: Differences between Preterite and Imperfect – Advanced

Practise, practise, practise!!!

The more you practise the better you become using them, because of this, here you have some >> exercises << to achieve your new goal.

Perfect preterite (Pretérito perfecto compuesto)

Hoy he comido pollo

Example of perfect preterite

It is used when you are still in the period time that the action happened (today, this week, this month, this year…).

VIDEO: How to use perfect preterite in Spanish

We hope that you feel confident now talking in Spanish about what you did in the past using these tenses.

Come to practise in the >> Off The Cuff Talks! << with Spanish native speakers who are willing to help you solidify your new knowledge!

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