• Spanish grammar
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  • 1 Spanish alphabet [0/1]
  • 2 Spanish articles [0/6]
  • 3 Spanish nouns [0/8]
  • 4 Spanish adjectives [0/17]
  • 5 Spanish numbers [0/6]
  • 6 Spanish pronouns [0/32]
  • Spanish pronoun quiz - Flashcards (Score -/-)Free
  • Spanish pronoun quiz - Type identification (Score -/-)Free
  • Spanish practice quiz - Drag and drop the pronoun (Score -/-)Free
  • Spanish pronouns in Spanish practice quiz (Score -/-)Free
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  • 6.1 Spanish personal pronouns [0/15]
  • 6.2 Spanish reflexive pronouns [0/2]
  • 6.3 Spanish possessive pronouns [0/2]
  • 6.4 Spanish demonstrative pronouns [0/2]
  • 6.5 Spanish interrogative pronouns [0/3]
  • 6.6 Spanish relative pronouns [0/3]
  • 7 Adverbs in Spanish [0/18]
  • 8 Sentence structure and word order in Spanish [0/4]
  • 9 Spanish prepositions [0/2]
  • 10 Spanish tenses and verb conjugation [0/27]
  • 10.1 Present tense in Spanish (el presente) [0/3]
  • 10.2 Past tenses in Spanish (el pasado) [0/18]
  • 10.2.1 Pretérito perfecto simple (indefinido) in Spanish [0/3]
  • 10.2.2 Pretérito perfecto compuesto in Spanish [0/3]
  • 10.2.3 Difference between Pretérito Perfecto and Indefinido [0/3]
  • 10.2.4 Pretérito Imperfecto in Spanish [0/3]
  • 10.2.5 Difference between imperfecto and indefinido [0/3]
  • 10.2.6 Pretérito pluscuamperfecto in Spanish [0/3]
  • 10.3 Future tense in Spanish (el futuro) [0/6]
  • 11 Difference between "ser" and "estar" in Spanish [0/3]
  • 12 Spanish verbs [0/7]
  • 13 Gerund in Spanish (el gerundio) [0/3]
  • 14 Imperative in Spanish (imperativo) [0/6]
  • 15 Passive in Spanish (voz pasiva) [0/3]
  • 16 Negation in Spanish [0/2]
  • The pretérito perfecto simple is a form of the verb that is used to talk about actions that were completed in the past in Spanish. It often corresponds to the simple past in English, as in I bought a new bike (compré una bicicleta nueva).

    What is the pretérito perfecto simple (simple past) in Spanish?

    The simple past (Spanish: el pretérito perfecto simple) is one of the most used past tenses in Spanish. We use it to talk about:

    • completed actions in the past.
    • actions completed at a definite, specific moment in the past

    Regular and irregular verb conjugations

    In Spanish there are regular and irregular forms.

    • regular forms: follow a pattern
    • irregular forms: do not follow the patterns and sometimes they change the root of the verb, the endings or both

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    Regular conjugation of the pretérito perfecto simple

    The regular conjugation is formed by dropping the endings -ar, -er, -ir of the infinitive form and adding the following endings:

    • for verbs ending in -ar with -é, -aste, -ó, -amos, -asteis, -aron
    • for verbs ending in -er, with -í, -iste, -ió, -imos, -isteis, -ieron
    • for verbs ending in -ir, with -í, -iste, -ió, -imos, -isteis, -ieron
    pronouns -ar verbs conjugated -er verbs conjugated -ir verbs conjugated
      Hablar (to speak) Comer (to eat) Vivir (to live)
    Yo hablé comí viví
    hablaste comiste viviste
    Él/Ella habló com vivió
    Nosotros/-as hablamos comimos vivimos
    Vosotros/-as hablasteis comisteis vivisteis
    Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes hablaron comieron vivieron

    Examples:

    • Hablé con mi madre. (I spoke to my mum)
    • Comimos muy tarde. (We had luch very late)
    • Viví 6 años en París (I lived for 6 years in Paris)

    enlightenedAttention: Note, that the first and third persons singular have tilde (written accent mark). This can change the meaning and the subject of a sentence.

    • With a tilde: Cantó una canción. (He/She sang a song)
    • Without a tilde: Canto una canción. (I sing a song)

    Irregular conjugation of the pretérito perfecto simple

    Irregular conjugations need to be memorized by heard. We have different types of irregular verbs:

    • Completely irregular verbs
    • Verbs with spelling changes
    • Stem-changing verbs

    Completely irregular verbs

    Here you have some examples of the most common verbs that are completely irregular:

    ser (to be)  
    Yo fui
    fuiste
    Él/Ella fue
    Nosotros/-as fuimos
    Vosotros/-as fuisteis
    Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes fueron

     

    ir (to go)  
    Yo fui
    fuiste
    Él/Ella fue
    Nosotros/-as fuimos
    Vosotros/-as fuisteis
    Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes fueron

     

    dar (to give)  
    Yo di
    diste
    Él/Ella dio
    Nosotros/-as dimos
    Vosotros/-as disteis
    Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes dieron

     

    ver (to see)  
    Yo vi
    viste
    Él/Ella vio
    Nosotros/-as vimos
    Vosotros/-as visteis
    Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes vieron

     

    estar (to be)  
    Yo estuve
    estuviste
    Él/Ella estuvo
    Nosotros/-as estuvimos
    Vosotros/-as estuvisteis
    Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes estuvieron

     

    tener (to have)  
    Yo tuve
    tuviste
    Él/Ella tuvo
    Nosotros/-as tuvimos
    Vosotros/-as tuvisteis
    Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes tuvieron

     

    poder (can/ to be able to)  
    Yo pude
    pudiste
    Él/Ella pudo
    Nosotros/-as pudimos
    Vosotros/-as pudisteis
    Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes pudieron

     

    poner (to put)  
    Yo puse
    pusiste
    Él/Ella puso
    Nosotros/-as pusimos
    Vosotros/-as pusisteis
    Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes pusieron

     

     querer (to want)  
    Yo quise
    quisiste
    Él/Ella quiso
    Nosotros/-as quisimos
    Vosotros/-as quisisteis
    Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes quisieron

     

    hacer (to do/to make)  
    Yo hice
    hiciste
    Él/Ella hizo
    Nosotros/-as hicimos
    Vosotros/-as hicisteis
    Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes hicieron

     

    decir (to say)  
    Yo dije
    dijiste
    Él/Ella dijo
    Nosotros/-as dijimos
    Vosotros/-as dijisteis
    Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes dijeron

     

    saber (to know)  
    Yo supe
    supiste
    Él/Ella supo
    Nosotros/-as supimos
    Vosotros/-as supisteis
    Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes supieron

    Examples:

    • No pude ir. (I couldn't go)
    • Estuve enferma la semana pasada. (I was ill last week)
    • Hizo un pastel de cumpleaños. (She made a birthday cake)

    Verbs with spelling changes

    Some changes are required because of Spanish spelling rules to keep the sound of the consonants c and g with que and gue as well as to maintain the soft sound before  i and e with c. Note that this changes apply to the yo form only.

    Verbs ending in -car: c → qu

    Infinitive in -car First-person singular (yo)
    explicar (to explain) expliqué (explicaste, explicó…)
    practicar (to practice) practiqué (practicaste, practicó…)
    buscar (to search/to look for) busqué (buscaste, buscó…)
    tocar (to touch) toqué (tocaste, tocó…)

    Verbs ending in -gar: g → gu

    Infinitive in -gar First-person singular (yo)
    llegar (to arrive) llegué (llegaste, llegó…)
    jugar (to play) jugué (jugaste, jugó…)
    negar (to deny) negué (negaste, negó…)
    pagar (to pay) pagué (pagaste, pagó…)

    Verbs ending in -zar: z→ c

    Infinitive in -zar First-person singular (yo)
    comenzar (to begin) comencé (comenzaste, comenzó…)
    realizar (to perform) realicé (realizaste, realizó…)
    empezar (to begin) empecé (empezaste, empezó…)
    almorzar (to have lunch) almorcé (almorzaste, almorzó…)

     

    Other spelling changes i → y

    In order to maintain the pronunciation of some verbs ending in -er or -ir, the 3rd person singular and 3rd person plural change i→ y Here are some examples:

      leer (to read) oir (to hear) creer  (to believe)
    Yo leí creí
    leíste oíste creíste
    Él/ella leyó oyó creyó
    Nosotros/-as leímos oímos creímos
    Vosotros/-as leísteis oísteis creísteis
    Ellos, ellas, ustedes leyeron oyeron creyeron

     

    Stem-changing verbs

    As in the present tense, there is a pattern of stem-changes in the Spanish verb conjugations. Remember that:

    • -ar verbs with stem-changes in the present tense do not have stem-changes in the past.
    • -ir verbs with stem changes in the present tense also have stem changes in the past tense in two ways: e → i  and  o→u

    e → i

      elegir (to choose) mentir (to lie) reir  (to laugh)
    Yo elegí mentí reí
    elegiste mentiste reíste
    Él/ella eligió mintió rió
    Nosotros/-as elegimos mentimos reímos
    Vosotros/-as elegisteis mentisteis reísteis
    Ellos, ellas, ustedes eligieron mintieron rieron
      repetir (to repeat) pedir (to ask for) preferir (to prefer)
    Yo repetí pedí preferí
    repetiste pediste preferiste
    Él/ella repitió pidió prefirió
    Nosotros/-as repetimos pedimos preferimos
    Vosotros/-as repetisteis pedisteis preferisteis
    Ellos, ellas, ustedes repitieron pidieron prefirieron

     

    o→u

    In the verbs dormir and morir, in the 3 persons singular and 3rd person plural, the root vowel o changes to u

      dormir (to sleep) morir (to die)
    Yo dormí morí
    dormiste moriste
    Él/ella durmió murió
    Nosotros/-as dormimos morimos
    Vosotros/-as dormisteis moristeis
    Ellos, ellas, ustedes durmieron murieron

     

    When to use the pretérito perfecto simple

    In Spanish we use different types of past tenses to communicate different ideas. Here you have the situations where you use the pretérito perfecto simple (simple past):

    Completed actions in the past

    An action completed at a specific moment in the past.

    • El avión aterrizó a las doce en punto. (The plane landed at four o’clock.)
    • Mi hermana nació el 6 de mayo de 1994. (My sister was born on May 6th 1994.)

    Continuous actions in the past 

    For an action or event that lasted for a specific period of time when you can determine how long the action took place.

    • Esperó dos horas en la estación. (He waited for two hours at the station).
    • Habló durante una hora sin parar. (He spoke for one hour non stop)

    Series of actions in the past

    For series of actions or events completed in the past even if you cannot determine when these actions took place or for how long.

    • Me levantédesayuné, me duché y me fui a trabajar. (I woke up, had breakfast, took a shower and went to work.)
    • Llegué, abrí la puerta y la fiesta sorpresa. (I arrived, opened the door and saw the suprise party.)

    Actions that are not repeated

    For actions that are not usually repeated using the following expressions:

    expression translation example
    cumplir años to turn a specific age

    Mi hija cumplió 4 años.

    My daughter turned 4.
    darse cuenta de  to realize

    Me di cuenta de que estaba equivocada.

    I realised I was wrong.
    decidir to decide

    Decidí mudarme a París.

    I decided to move to Paris.

    descubrir to discover

    Roentgen descubrió los rayos X en 1895.

    Roentgen discovered  X-rays in 1895.
    graduarse to graduate

    Me gradué hace varios años.

    I graduated a few years ago
    morir to die

    Él murió a los 85 años.

    He died at 85 years of age.

     

    Marker words of the pretérito perfecto simple

    With these words we will always use the pretérito perfecto simple (simple past):

    Spanish English
    ayer yesterday
    la semana pasada last week
    el año pasado last year
    el 5 de diciembre de 1985 December, 5th 1985
    anoche last night
    después after
    hace 3 días 3 days ago
    el miércoles Wednesday
    en el año 2006 in 2006
    de repente suddenly

    Examples sentences

    • El 5 de Diciembre fue mi cumpleaños. (My birthday was the 5th of december.)
    • Apareció de repente. (He suddenly showed up
    • Ayer comí pasta. (I had pasta yesterday)

    Example text

    Mi primer viaje a Francia me llevó a París, donde estuve tres semanas. En el aeropuerto nos esperó la guía Vanessa que nos llevó a nuestro apartamento. Primero pasamos unos días en el norte de la ciudad. Allí hicimos un tour por Montmartre, el barrio de los artistas, ubicado en una colina. Allí estuvimos cuatro días.

    Translation

    My first trip to France took me to Paris, where I stayed for three weeks. At the airport we were greeted by Vanessa, the guide who took us to our apartment. First we spent a few days in the north of the city. There, we did a tour of Montmartre, the neighborhood of the artists, located on a hill. We stayed there for four days.