MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

411 views

¿Cuándo se utiliza el pretérito perfecto, el imperfecto y el pretérito? = When do you use the perfect, the imperfect and the indicative past?

Firstly, let's start with the 'imperfecto' tense as it's the easiest to differentiate. The endings for this tense are as follows:

For regular verbs ending -AR in the infinitive (that is the 'to ...', e.g. to speak is hablAR), drop the AR and substitute the endings depending on the person with: -aba, -abas, -aba, -ábamos, -abais, -aban. 

For regular verbs ending -ER or -IR in the infinitive (e.g. comeER or vivIR), drop the ER/IR and substitute the endings depending on the person with: -ía, -ías, -ía, -íamos, -íais, ían. 

As always there are irregular verbs for this tense and it does include the usual culprits, amongst others- ser, tener and ir but we'll cover those later.

This tense is used for: a habitual or repeated action in the past (something you used to do often), an ongoing action in the past with no specified completion time (e.g. I was eating an apple), for the description of a scene of how things were happening when there was an interruption (e.g. I was eating breakfast when...) or general description of the past (e.g. I was afraid of bees/ It was 5am). So, to help you, generally think of this tense as the english 'i was' or 'i used to'. 

Phrases that commonly elicit the imperfect past are: 'normalmente, de vez en cuando, antes, todos los dïas, los lunes' but of course there are more that are a little less common too. 

Therefore, since the imperfect is used for the distant past, we now move on to the less distant past- we'll continue to go in order of furthest away in time to most recent past.

Next we have the 'pretérito' past. This is the past we most tend to think of when we think of the past in English, i.e. 'I went, I ate, I spoke'. The endings for this tense are as follows: 

For regular verbs ending -AR in the infinitive (e.g. to speak- hablAR), drop the AR and substitute the endings depending on the person with: -é, -aste, -ó, -amos, -asteis, -aron.

For regular verbs ending -ER or -IR in the infinitive (e.g. comeER or vivIR), drop the ER/IR and substitute the endings depending on the person with: -í, -iste, -ió, -imos, -isteis, -ieron.

This tense indicates a single event that happened (e.g. Visité unos museos- I visited some museums), an event that occurred, interrupting another action (... when the robber broke in) or changes in an existing physical or mental state in a specific moment (I was sacred when I saw the dog). 

Phrases that elicit this tense include: 'una vez, muchas veces, ayer, un día, el lunes, de repente, el mes pasado, la semana pasada' amongst others.

Finally- the 'pretérito perfecto'. This tense is a little harder to differentiate from the previous tense but there are differences in their uses. In english, it usually translates as 'I have gone, I have spoken, I have eaten'. It is generally related to the present because it happens in the same unit of time you are in Therefore phrases that elicit this tense include 'hoy, esta semana, este mes'. 

However, this tense is also used for other 'este' ohrases like 'esta mañana, este fin de semana' because though that time period is finished, the speaker is close to that moment or thier intention is to make it closer. e.g. Este fin de semana no he salido. 

Another use of this tense, similar to in English, is when we imply 'ever' or 'in your life'. For example: Have you ever been to Madrid? = ¿Has estado alguna vez en Madrid?

To form this tense, first we use the present tense of the verb 'haber': he, has, ha, hemos, habéis, han. This is then followed by the past participle of the verb:

-AR verbs subsitute the 'ar' with 'ado'

-ER and -IR verbs sibsitute the respective 'er' and 'ir' with 'ido'. 

Do you have any questions? If not, let's find an excercise where you can practice differenitating between the tenses so I can see that you'ce fully grasped the concept. 

Alya M. GCSE Spanish tutor, A Level Spanish tutor

12 months ago

Answered by Alya, a GCSE Spanish tutor with MyTutor


Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

119 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£24 /hr

Simon C.

Degree: Modern Languages and Cultures (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered:Spanish, Religious Studies+ 4 more

Spanish
Religious Studies
History
French
.MLAT (Modern Languages)
-Personal Statements-

“Bilingual Durham undergraduate looking to help students with Spanish, Personal Statements, French, History, RS and MLAT performance. About Me Hi, I’m Simon and am currently a first year student at Durham University, studying Spanish,...”

£24 /hr

Rachael S.

Degree: French and Spanish (Bachelors) - Cambridge University

Subjects offered:Spanish, Religious Studies+ 6 more

Spanish
Religious Studies
History
French
Extended Project Qualification
English Literature
-Personal Statements-

“Second year languages student at the University of Cambridge, offering high quality tuition in a wide range of subject areas!”

£18 /hr

Natasha N.

Degree: French and Spanish (Bachelors) - Bristol University

Subjects offered:Spanish, Maths+ 3 more

Spanish
Maths
History
French
Chemistry

“Hi I'm Natasha and I study French and Spanish at the University of Bristol. I have a passion for languages and enjoy teaching. ”

MyTutor guarantee

About the author

£18 /hr

Alya M.

Degree: Modern Languages and Cultures (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered:Spanish, Russian+ 2 more

Spanish
Russian
Italian
-Personal Statements-

“About me: I am currently in my first year at Durham University studying Modern Languages (Spanish and beginner's German). I've always loved languages and actually speak quite a few including Russian and Italian. Hopefully you can see ...”

You may also like...

Other GCSE Spanish questions

When should I use Pretérito Perfecto and Pretérito Indefinido?

How do you form the imperfect tense?

How can I improve my knowledge of Spanish vocabulary?

When do I use the preterite and imperfect?

View GCSE Spanish tutors

We use cookies to improve your site experience. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok