Spanish Lessons


The Ser and Ir Preterite Conjugation: A Useful Common Past to Know

We all know that mastering irregular verbs like ser (to be) and ir (to go) can be tricky. Very often, however, we can take advantage of those special rules that make the learning process a bit easier. In this lesson, we will explore one of them: the ser and ir preterite conjugation!


The Ser and Ir Preterite Conjugation 

First of all, the good news: the verbs ser and ir share the same simple past conjugation! By simple past, we are referring to what is known in Spanish as pretérito perfecto simple or just pretérito (preterite). That being said, let’s review the ser and ir preterite conjugation of these two verbs.


The Preterite Conjugation of the Verb Ser


Yo fui | I was
Tú fuiste | You were
Él/Ella fue | He/She was
Nosotros fuimos | We were
Vosotros fuisteis | You were
Ellos fueron | They were


Let's see a couple of examples:


Pensar que un día fui la respuesta

To think that one day I was the answer

Caption 15, Belanova - Tal vez

 Play Caption


Aprendí que los primeros en hacer cómic fueron los aztecas.

I learned that the first ones to make comics were the Aztecs.

Captions 47-48, Antonio Vargas - Artista - Comic

 Play Caption



The Preterite Conjugation of the Verb Ir


Yo fui | I went
Tú fuiste | You went
Él/Ella fue | He/She went
Nosotros fuimos | We went
Vosotros fuisteis | You went
Ellos fueron | They went


Did you see that? The ser and ir preterite conjugation is the same! Now, let's see a couple of examples with the verb ir:


Y sí, definitivamente fuimos a tomar un café, fuimos a cenar.

And yes, we definitely went for a coffee, went to dinner.

Caption 18, Enanitos Verdes - Luz de día

 Play Caption


¿Y te fuiste a vivir con tu novio con cuánto?

And you went to live with your boyfriend when you were how old?

-Con diecisiete.

-I was seventeen.

Caption 92, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 14

 Play Caption

We also use the simple past conjugation of the verb ir for the reflexive form irse (to leave):


Yo me fui de la casa cuando tenía nueve años.

I left home when I was nine years old.

Caption 41, La Sub30 - Familias - Part 5

 Play Caption


Desde aquel día que te fuiste, supe que eras para mí

From that day on which you left, I knew you were for me

Caption 1, Andy Andy - Maldito Amor

 Play Caption


That's all for now. But before we leave, a short exercise for you: Write 10 sentences using the preterite of the verb ser and 10 sentences using the preterite of the verb ir. and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.


Expressions That Matter

While watching one of our new videos we came across an interesting and common expression:


¿Y eso qué tiene que ver?

And what does that have to do with anything?

Yo también fui al velorio del obrero.

I also went to the worker's wake.

Caption 26, Muñeca Brava - 33 El partido

 Play Caption




As always, our video captions contain a translation that is as literal as possible. We translated tiene que ver as "have to do" because the expression tener que ver (literally "to have to see") actually means "to have to do" or "to relate to" in Spanish. For example:


Creemos que el espíritu de las canciones

We believe that the spirit of the songs

tiene que ver con esos personajes.

has to do with those characters.

Captions 66-67, Bersuit Vergarabat - EPK 

 Play Caption


The expression is also used in the negative form by adding the words no and nada (nothing):


¡No me interesa!

I don't care!

Me voy.

I'm leaving.

Tú y yo no tenemos nada que ver, ¿OK?

You and I don't have anything to do with each other, OK?

Captions 77-79, Yago - 8 Descubrimiento

 Play Caption


This last example is also interesting because it shows how the expression tener que ver doesn't always need a complement such as el uno con el otro (with each other), which is something you absolutely need in English. But in Spanish, leaving the expression as it is implies that tener que ver by itself means "to have to do with each other". However, we could add a different complement to the same expression, changing the meaning of what we are saying. We could say, for example: Tú y yo no tenemos nada que ver con el robo (You and I have nothing to do with the robbery). Here is another example:


Volvemos con la Sub30 y este tema que

We're back with the Sub30 and this topic that

no tiene nada que ver con tribus urbanas.

has nothing to do with urban tribes.

Caption 1, La Sub30 - Familias

 Play Caption


By the way, this also explains why, in the first example of this lesson, we can't translate ¿y eso qué tiene que versimply as "and what does that have to do?" since this is an incomplete phrase in English. 

Now, by extension, no tener que ver also means no importar (to not matter). However, since the use of the expression no importa (it doesn't matter) prevails in Spanish, people don't really use no tener que ver to express the same idea. What people do use is the rhetorical question ¿qué tiene que ver? to express that something doesn't matter. Yes, just as English uses the rhetorical question "what does it matter?" to mean "it doesn't matter," Spanish uses the question ¿Qué tiene que ver? to mean no tiene (nada) que ver (= no importa). 

So, going back to our first example, another valid, shorter, and perhaps more common way to translate the caption is:


¿Y eso qué tiene que ver? Yo también fui al velorio del obrero.

And what does does it matter? I also went to the worker's wake.

Caption 26, Muñeca Brava - 33 El partido

 Play Caption


To finish this lesson we want to share two more expressions that are used in Spanish to express that something doesn't matter (or rather, that it's beside the point). The first one is no venir al caso, (literally "it doesn't come to the case"). Here's an example:

¿Por qué crees que el amor justifica tus actos? Eso no viene al caso.
Why do you think love justifies your actions? That is irrelevant.


The other expression is no venir al cuento, which is very similar to no venir al caso but substitutes caso (case) with cuento (story, tale). If it's true that "literature is life, and life is literature" it makes a lot of sense, don't you think? Here is an example:

Ya no viene al cuento recordar el pasado.
It's beside the point to remember the past.

Signup to get Free Spanish Lessons sent by email

You May Also Like