Pretérito

Pretérito in Spanish
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Simple Past Tense

The pretérito is the Spanish simple past tense, used to talk about things that were completed in the past.

Por ejemplo…

Compré una chaqueta.   I bought a jacket.
Comimos a las ocho.   We ate at 8.
Fueron al banco tres veces.   They went to the bank three times.
¿Hiciste tu tarea?   Did you do your homework?

 The pretérito is also known as the pretérito indefinido, to distinguish it from other Spanish past tenses like the préterito imperfecto (which I’ve always called simply imperfecto). These and other Spanish tenses have many different names, as you can see in this table of Spanish tense names.

  The préterito is used for completed actions, as opposed to interrupted, ongoing, or habitual actions, which are expressed with the imperfecto. The difference between these two Spanish tenses can be tricky – learn more.

 More pretérito lessons

 The English equivalent of the pretérito is the simple past. French, however, has two equivalents. Grammatically, the pretérito is equivalent to the passé simple, but in terms of meaning and usage, the passé composé is the best translation.

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Pretérito - Spanish simple past