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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.
|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
- Conjugations of regular verbs
- Conjugations of stem-changing verbs
- Conjugations of irregular verbs
- Pretérito conjugations – PwLS super list
- Pretérito usage – PwLS super list
- Pretérito vs Imperfecto
The English equivalent of the pretérito is the simple past.
Italian is similar, with just the passato prossimo.
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