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The Preterite Conjugation of Regular Spanish Verbs

Let's talk about the Spanish conjugation of regular verbs. In particular, let's see how to form the preterite conjugation of regular verbs ending in -ar, -er, and -ir. But first, let's review the main idea behind the preterite tense in Spanish.

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The Preterite Tense in Spanish

In very simple terms, when we talk about the Spanish preterite tense, we are talking about the simple past, in other words, a completed action that took place at a determined point in the past. Let's look at an example from the series where our friend Carlos talks about this tense:

 

Ayer trabajé hasta las ocho de la noche.

Yesterday I worked until eight at night.

Caption 30, Carlos explica - El pretérito Cap. 1: Perfecto simple o Indefinido

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In this example, trabajé is the preterite conjugation of the regular verb trabajar for the first-person singular yo (I). Note that the only change necessary to form the preterite in this example is removing the -ar ending of the infinitive verb and replacing it with the ending 

 

A Note About the Conjugations in This Lesson

There are a couple of things we want to mention about the conjugations you will find throughout this tutorial.

 

1. While usted (the formal, second-person singular "you") does not appear in our conjugation lists, keep in mind that when using that pronoun, the verb is conjugated in the exact same way as verbs in the third-person singular forms with él (he) and ella (she). Let's take a look at this in action with the preterite conjugation of the verb hablar (to speak/talk):

 

Usted habló de Fabio Sirenio.

You talked about Fabio Sirenio.

Caption 83, Yago - 7 Encuentros - Part 14

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Entonces él habló con...

So, he spoke with...

con los pescadores y los pescadores aceptaron.

with the fishermen and the fishermen accepted.

Caption 17, Instinto de conservación - Parque Tayrona

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2. In order to offer a more simplistic verb conjugation snapshot, in this article, we only employ the masculine versions of the plural forms nosotros (we), vosotros (you), and ellos (they). That said, keep in mind that the conjugations are the same for the feminine forms nosotras, vosotras, and ellas.

 

3. Just like ustedustedes (the standard second person plural "you" in Latin America and the formal second person plural in Spain) does not appear among the conjugations shared here. However, keep in mind that the conjugations of verbs with "ustedes" are the exact same as the third-person plural forms utilized with ellos and ellas (they). Let's look at an example of this with the preterite conjugation of the verb cantar (to sing):

 

Ustedes cantaron muy bien (You guys sang very well).

Ellos/Ellas cantaron muy bien (They sang very well).

 

Having said all this, let's explore the preterite conjugations of some regular verbs in Spanish.

 

The Preterite Conjugations of -AR Verbs

 

The Preterite Endings of -AR Verbs: (-é / -aste / -ó / -amos / -asteis / -aron)

Let's take a look at the preterite conjugation of the verb hablar (to speak).

 

Yo hablé (I spoke).

Tú hablaste (You spoke).

Él/Ella habló (He/She spoke).

Nosotros hablamos (We spoke).*

Vosotros hablasteis (You spoke).

Ellos hablaron (They spoke).

 

* It's important to note that because the verb conjugation for the first person plural "nosotros" (we) is the same for both the simple present and simple past tenses, the speaker's intention must be determined by context as follows: 

 

Nosotros estudiamos mucho todos los días (We study a lot every day).

Ayer nosotros estudiamos mucho (Yesterday, we studied a lot).

 

Examples of Preterite Conjugations with -AR Verbs:

 

Example 1.: The verb comprar (to buy)

 

¡Y compraste melones en vez de limones!*

And you bought melons instead of lemons!

Caption 16, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 2: Sam va de compras

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* Remember that pronouns are frequently omitted in Spanish. Thus, in the example above and without changing the meaning, one could say: "¡Y  compraste melones en vez de limones!" However, despite the fact that the speaker does not use the pronoun here, the -aste verb ending lets the listener know that the person referred to is "" (you).

 

Example 2.: The verb escuchar (to listen/hear)

 

La canción que escuchamos

The song that we heard

introduce la quinta parte del primer episodio.

introduces the fifth part of the first episode.

Caption 54, Carlos comenta - Los Años Maravillosos - La década de los 80 y música

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The Preterite Conjugations of -ER Verbs

 

The Preterite Endings of -ER Verbs: (-í / -iste / -ió / -imos / -isteis / -ieron).

Let's take a look at the preterite conjugation of the regular verb comer (to eat).

 

Yo comí (I ate).

Tú comiste (You ate).

Él/Ella com (He/She ate).

Nosotros comimos (We ate).

Vosotros comisteis (You ate).

Ellos comieron (They ate).

 

Examples of Preterite Conjugations with -ER Verbs:

 

Example 1.: The verb aprender (to learn)

 

...y aprendí que los pulpos pueden cambiar de color.

...and I learned that octopi can change color.

Caption 45, Guillermina y Candelario - La Señora Pulpo

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Example 2.: The verb vender (to sell)

 

Creo que vendimos unos quinientos dólares en unas...

I think we sold about five hundred dollars (worth) in about...

tres horas, dos horas.

three hours, two hours.

Captions 25-26, Un café con Julia - Año nuevo

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The Preterite Conjugations of -IR Verbs

 

The Preterite Endings of -IR Verbs: (-í / -iste / -ió / -imos / -isteis / -ieron)

Let's take a look at the preterite conjugation of the verb vivir (to live).

 

Yo viví (I lived).

Tú viviste (You lived).

Él/Ella viv (He/She lived).

Nosotros vivimos (We lived).

Vosotros vivisteis (You lived).

Ellos vivieron (They lived).

 

Examples of Preterite Conjugations with -IR Verbs:

 

Example 1.: The verb escribir (to write)

 

¿Por qué dices eso?

Why do you say that?

Porque una vez me escribiste

Because once you wrote to me

contándome que te casabas en Nueva York.

telling me that you were getting married in New York.

Captions 61-62, Yago - 6 Mentiras - Part 5

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Example 2.: The verb abrir (to open)

 

Primero, Lisa Bernal abrió la herida.

First, Lisa Bernal opened the wound.

Caption 61, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 6 - Part 4

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And with this example, we have reached the end of this lesson. But before we go, a little homework for you: go ahead and choose some other regular verbs and practice the Spanish conjugation of the preterite tense. Sooner or later, you will be able to master those preterite endings! We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

100 Words That Are Identical in Spanish and English

Spanish may seem quite different from English and that could be very intimidating for people learning the language of Cervantes. However, if you are an English speaker, there are many words in Spanish that you already know! In this lesson, we will discover 100 words that are identical in Spanish and English.

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Words ending in ‘or’

In English, many words ending in ‘or’ are exactly the same in Spanish. Let’s start with the first one:

 

Con el actor Fred Savage.

With the actor Fred Savage.

Caption 8, Carlos comenta - Los Años Maravillosos - La década de los 80 y música

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In the example above, the spelling of the word “actor” is the same in English and Spanish. While the pronunciation is different, it is worth noting that the stress of the Spanish word goes on the last syllable while its English equivalent has the stress on the second-to-last syllable. Let’s see some words that follow the same pattern:

 

2. Color

3. Director

4. Editor

5. Error

6. Exterior

7. Favor

 

Para mí como un honor y también un... un reto poder hacer...

For me, like an honor and also a... a challenge to be able to make...

Caption 55, Leonardo Rodriguez Sirtori - Una vida como pintor

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9. Horror

10. Humor

11. Inferior

12. Instructor

 

Y ¿prefieren habitación exterior o interior?

And do you prefer an interior room or an exterior room?

Caption 15, Raquel - Reservación de Hotel

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14. Motor

15. Rumor

16. Sector

17. Superior

18. Tenor

19. Tractor

20. Tumor

21. Tutor

 

We know that some words like color and favor are spelled differently in some English speaking countries (colour, favour) but if you remove the ‘u’ you will find the same words in Spanish.

 

Words ending in ‘al’

Now, let’s see some words that end in ‘al,’ which share the same spelling in both English and Spanish:

 

El estanque artificial es la primera imagen.

The artificial pond is the first image.

Caption 46, Marisa en Madrid - Parque de El Retiro

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23. Animal

24. Brutal

25. Capital

26. Central

27. Cereal

 

Esta ciudad se caracteriza por su arquitectura colonial.

This city is characterized by its colonial architecture.

Caption 7, Mérida y sus alrededores - Ciudad de Mérida

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29. Continental

30. Criminal

 

Luego tenemos proyectos de cooperación cultural.

Then we have cultural cooperation projects.

Caption 54, En el hub - Madrid

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32. Decimal

33. Dental

34. Editorial

35. Electoral

36. Elemental

37. Experimental

 

Y una crema hidratante facial es netamente para tu rostro.

And a moisturizing facial lotion is purely for your face.

Caption 34, Los médicos explican - Consejos para la piel

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39. Fatal

40. Federal

41. Festival

42. Final

43. Formal

44. Fundamental

45. Funeral

46. General

47. Gradual

48. Horizontal

 

El hospital da hacia el mar.

The hospital faces the sea.

Caption 20, Lecciones con Carolina - Verbo - dar

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50. Ideal

51. Imperial

52. Industrial

53. Informal

54. Instrumental

55. Legal

56. Liberal

57. Literal

58. Local

59. Manual

 

Todo este material servirá para decorar los puestos y las calles de Olivares.

All this material will serve to decorate the stands and streets of Olivares.

Caption 72, Europa Abierta - Taller de escenografía en Olivares

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61. Mental

62. Metal

63. Monumental

64. Moral

65. Mortal

66. Musical

67. Natural

68. Neutral

 

Yo tengo una familia que es una familia normal.

I have a family that is a normal family.

Caption 1, El Aula Azul - Mi familia

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70. Oral

71. Original

72. Personal

73. Plural

74. Radical

75. Regional

76. Rival

77. Rural

78. Social

79. Superficial

 

Llegaréis a la terminal nueva.

You will arrive at the new terminal.

Caption 23, Blanca - Cómo moverse en Barcelona

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81. Total

82. Tropical

83. Universal

84. Vertical

85. Visual

86. Viral

87. Vital

 

Words ending in ‘ble’

Finally, there are many English words that end in ‘ble’ that are identical in Spanish. Let’s see some of them:

 

88. Adorable

89. Deplorable

90. Flexible

91. Honorable

92. Invisible

93. Irresistible

94. Miserable

 

Porque él también es muy sociable, le encanta estar con la gente...

Because he also is very sociable, he loves to be with people...

Caption 11, El Aula Azul - Mis Amigos

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96. Tangible

97. Terrible

98. Variable

99. Visible

100. Vulnerable

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In English, most of these words are stressed on the third-to-last syllable. On the contrary, in Spanish these words are stressed on the second-to-last syllable.

 

That's it for this lesson. Isn’t it nice to see that you already know so many Spanish words without even trying? In fact, there are many more words ending in ‘or,’ ‘al’ and ‘ble’ that have the same meaning and spelling in English and Spanish. Can you find more words to add to these 100? Give it a try and don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

 

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