Spanish Regular Preterite Tense

Beginner Spanish - Level A1


The Spanish past tense or preterite tense (Pretérito) is used when talking about an event that took place in the past at a specific time, or one that was completed.

language250Asset 173@250x-8

Back to the Course

Hi, you can review other topics from this course level.

Spanish A1


Visit the Shop

Visit the Shop

Start classes with one of our professional teachers today.

Book Private Classes

Regular Spanish Verbs in the Preterit Tense

Today we are going to learn about a new tense in Spanish – the PRETERIT TENSE. This tense us used to express actions that have been completed at a specific point in the PAST.  

*NOTE: You will sometimes see this tense spelled “Preterite” with an -e on the end. This is the British English spelling.

When do we use the PRETERIT TENSE?

Because there are multiple tenses used to express the PAST TENSE in Spanish, let’s go over specific instances in which the PRETERIT TENSE should be used:

  1. Events with a specific start and end.

    I brushed my teeth.

    We rode a train yesterday.

    She sent me the email.


  2. Events with specific times and dates.

    We got home at 10:00.

    I studied for the test last night for 3 hours.


  3. Sequential events.

       I got up, took a shower, then left for work.

       He chopped the onion, cut the tomato then mixed them together.



In the PRETERIT TENSE we only have two sets of endings! We conjugate these verbs just like our present tense regular verbs:

  1. Chop off infinitive verb ending (-ar, -er, -ir)
  2. Determine subject of the sentence
  3. Add new ending based on the subject of the sentence

See the tables below for the endings to use with the PRETERIT TENSE:












*NOTE: The accents used in the 1st person and 3rd person are IMPERATIVE to this conjugation. 

Don't miss out!

Hi there, you are currently not signed in.

CORE Languages students who are signed in get credit for daily engagement while studying. Additionally, save your quiz and test grades by logging in. Even if you are just a language buff wanting to get a bit more studying in, Sign In and receive weekly content updates, access to Free PDF guides and special pricing on online training from our shop.

Additional Activities

Review the unit lesson above and complete additional activities to build your understanding of this topic. For the activities listed below, make sure you are signed in to keep track of your progress, to receive our weekly topics e-mail and special promotions! We are letting you know, you are not signed in. And progress will not be saved.

Let’s practice!
Conjugate the verb in parenthesis based on the subject of the sentence. Be sure to click READ MORE to see the answer key once you are finished!

  1. Yo ___________ (hablar) por teléfono con mi hermana anoche.
  2. ¿Ustedes ___________ (comer) en casa on en un restaurante ayer?
  3. Nosotros ___________ (viajar) a Barcelona la semana pasada.
  4. Mi mejor amigo ___________ (trabajar) en su jardín el fin de semana pasado.
  5. ¿Tú ___________ (comprar) un carro nuevo?
  6. Mis perros ___________ (correr) mucho en el parque con los otros perros.
  7. Yo ___________ (escribir) una carta de gracias a mi madre.
  8. El hombre ___________ (vender) su empresa.
  9. El dueño ___________ (abrir) la puerta a las 8:00 de la mañana.
  10. Mis colegas y yo ___________ (aprender) a usar el programa nuevo.



Answer key: 1. Hablé, 2. Comieron, 3. Viajamos, 4. Trabajó, 5. Compraste, 6. Corrieron, 7. Escribí, 8. Vendió, 9. Abrió, 10. Aprendimos 

We love new fresh content! Find some of our favorite links on this Unit topic below. If any links are expired, please let us know.

What do you know?

You can complete the following quiz to see if you truly understand this unit's content.