Getting your head around Spanish past tense

As an English speaking Australian, I barely learned to use English correctly besides trying to learn an actual foreign language. After trying to make the french teacher cry in school, the idea of learning a foreign language was so very foreign to me. It’s probably because we live on a island insulated from the rest of the actual world. It’s where the federal governments fight over who hates the poor different looking people the most in order to win votes!

Promising to burn refugees or at least throw them into the ocean is just darn good policy.

Most [not all] of the Aussies I have encountered abroad in the 18 – 24 bracket are uncultured bogan dumbshits, who couldn’t give a fuck about foreign cultures, let alone try to learn how to say a few words in a foreign language.

(Says the probably new and enlightened me from bogansville)

Maybe if my french teacher was smarter and better at marketing her language, she could have said, learn this language and your chances at banging hot foreign chicks is going to be much higher.

http://resources0.news.com.au/images/2010/07/21/1225895/300896-kevin-rudd.jpg

Guess who learned Mandarin?  hey hey.

Anyway for those Aussies and English speaking jerks like us, who give a shit and are trying to learn Spanish you probably have taken a course, or looked at the basics. What I struggle with consistently, is how to cope with the uses of past tenses. English seems so basic by comparison. (Actually I struggle with the whole lot still)

So I’ve been trying to summarise some of my notes Electronically:

Pretérito imperfecto – The imperfect past - think of the things that you used to do in the past. “I used to be less of an asshole”. It’s not such a perfect thing to say. Seriously though that is what we are using this tense for. It’s also used to apply descriptions in the past.

      1. Actions that are a habit of the past
        I used to hate refugees. (and you’re changing right?)
        Yo odiaba los refugiados.

      2. Actions that are in progress.
        We were watching an idiot.
        Estábamos viendo una idiota.

      3. Descriptions of persons, things, the climate, the time, the day etc.
        Tony used to work for the church.
        Tony trabajaba para la iglesia.

The Conjugations are below – verbs ending in ER and IR are the same. Lucky hey less to remember.

Conjugation

- AR -

- ER – IR –

Yo

aba

ia

abas

ias

El / Ella / Usted

aba

ia

Nosotros

abamos

iamos

Vosotros

abais

iais

Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes

aban

ian

Of course there are irregular verbs, but only a few so yeah easy peasy…

 Irregular Verbs

ser

ir

ver

Yo

era

iba

veía

eras

ibas

veías

El / Ella / Usted

era

iba

veía

Nosotros

éramos

íbamos

veíamos

Vosotros

Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes

eran

iban

veian

 

Pretérito indefinido / Pretérito perfecto simple  – The perfect past

Think of this tense as the way to describe actions that occurred in the past.

      1. Used for an action that starts and finishes in the past
        Tony fue a la playa.
        Tony went to the beach.

      2. An action beginning or finishing in the past

        Yesterday at 7, Tony started to ride his bike.
        Ayer a las 7 Tony empezó a andar en bicicleta

        Tony finished riding his bike at 8
        Tony terminó montado en su bicicleta a las 8

Riding to his new job, hey, quality media.

 

Here are the conjugation rules:

Conjugation

- AR -

- ER – IR-

Yo

é

í

ste

iste

El / Ella / Usted

ó

Nosotros

amos

imos

Vosotros

asteis

iais

Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes

aron

ieron

There are many irregular verbs for this tense. Surprised? Check them out:
First thing you will notice are: ‘ir’ and ‘ser’ are the same.

So to say ‘I went to Colombia’ you could use ‘Yo fuí a Colombia’. Hey hey, pretty handy round those hostels!

1st Group

ir

ser

dar

ver

Yo

fui

fui

di

vi

fuiste

fuiste

diste

viste

El / Ella / Usted

fue

fue

dio

vio

Nosotros

fuimos

fuimos

dimos

vimos

Vosotros

Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes

fueron

fueron

dieron

vieron

 2nd Group

tener

estar

andar

Yo

tuve

estuve

anduve

tuviste

estuviste

anduviste

El / Ella / Usted

tuvo

estuvo

anduvo

Nosotros

tuvimos

estuvimos

anduvimos

Vosotros

Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes

tuvieron

estuvieron

anduvieron

 3rd Group

poder

poner

haber

Yo

pude

puse

hube

pudiste

pusiste

hubiste

El / Ella / Usted

pudo

puso

hubo

Nosotros

pudimos

pusimos

hubimos

Vosotros

Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes

pudieron

pusieron

hubieron

4th Group

venir

hacer

querer

Yo

vine

hice

quise

viniste

hiciste

quisiste

El / Ella / Usted

vino

hizo

quiso

Nosotros

vinimos

hicimos

quisimos

Vosotros

Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes

vinieron

hicieron

quisieron

5th Group

decir

conducir

traer

Yo

dije

conduje

traje

dijiste

condujiste

trajiste

El / Ella / Usted

dijo

condujo

trajo

Nosotros

dijimos

condujimos

trajimos

Vosotros

Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes

dijeron

condujeron

trajeron

6th Group (Irregular only in the 3rd person)

6.1 Swap O to V in third person only:

domir

morir

Yo

dormí

morí

dormiste

moriste

El / Ella / Usted

durmió

murió

Nosotros

dormimos

morimos

Vosotros

Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes

durmieron

murieron

6.2 Swap E to I in third person only:

mentir

servir

Yo

mentí

serví

mentiste

serviste

El / Ella / Usted

mintió

sirvió

Nosotros

mentimos

servimos

Vosotros

Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes

mintieron

sirvieron

Others: preferir, medir, vestir, desvestir, reír, sonreír, corregir, seguir, perseguir, sentir

6.3 add ‘y’ to the third person:

leer

caer

creer

Yo

leí

caí

creí

leíste

caíste

creíste

El / Ella / Usted

leyó

cayo

creyó

Nosotros

leímos

caímos

creímos

Vosotros

Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes

leyeron

cayeron

creyeron

Others: caer, huir, construir, destruir, concluir

7th Group (Irregular only in the 1st person)

7.1 verbs that end in ‘ZAR’ change Z → C only in 1st person

almorzar

comenzar

Yo

almorcé

comencé

almorzaste

comenzaste

El / Ella / Usted

almorzó

comenzó

Nosotros

almorzamos

comenzamos

Vosotros

Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes

almorzaron

comenzaron

Others: abrazar

7.2 verbs that end in ‘GAR’ change G → Gu only in 1st person

jugar

llegar

Yo

jugué

llegué

jugaste

llegaste

El / Ella / Usted

jugó

llegó

Nosotros

jugamos

llegamos

Vosotros

Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes

jugaron

llegaron

 Others: regar, rogar

7.3 verbs that end in ‘CAR’ change C → qu only in 1st person

 

buscar

roncar

pescar

Yo

busque

ronque

pesque

buscaste

roncaste

pescaste

El / Ella / Usted

buscó

roncó

pescó

Nosotros

buscamos

roncamos

pescamos

Vosotros

Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes

buscaron

roncaron

pescaron

 

 

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One Response to Getting your head around Spanish past tense

  1. Gavin October 7, 2013 at 7:57 am #

    I think you have more of a grasp than you might think mate, you seem to know what your talking about.
    I agree completely in regards to the comments you made about bogan-ness (is that a word) if there is one realisation I can take away from my travels, its that we were brought up in a particularly bogan and naturally racist place. I feel very fortunate that I made the choice to travel the world and struggle to imagine the person I once was coming from the rather backward tuck away place known as Esperance before ever venturing out to see the real world.
    All I can say is the bogan travellers you refer to, will at least realise they possess a twisted prospective on life and inevitably traveling will change them for the better. (Or lets Hope)
    However its the ones who never leave this island who never change!! Lets hope a growing population by multiculturalism will thin out boganism, because I for one have absolutely no time for it.

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