How do I form the past simple tense in Spanish?

Spanish verbs (words like 'to do' or 'to say' or 'to eat', in English) come in two main groups. Firstly, there are the -ar ending verbs, which make up about 70 per cent of Spanish verbs. Some examples of these are 'comprar' (to buy), 'enviar' (to send), and 'hablar' (to speak). Secondly, there are the -ir and -er ending verbs, such as 'vender' (to sell), 'compartir' (to share) and 'entender' (to understand).

Forming the past simple is easy for regular Spanish verbs, just do the following:

For -ar ending verbs:

I bought: compré

He/She/It bought: compró

They bought: compraron

You bought: compraste 

N.B. 'We bought' is exactly the same in the past tense as it is in the present: 'compramos'

Easy, right?

Now, for the -er/-ir verbs, simply do the following:

I understood: Entendí

He/She/It understood: Entend

They understood: Entendieron

You understood: Entendiste

We understood: Entendimos

N.B. Remember, the -ir/-er endings are exactly the same! 

Nathaniel A. GCSE Spanish tutor

6 months ago

Answered by Nathaniel, a GCSE Spanish tutor with MyTutor

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


Rachelle O. GCSE Spanish tutor, A Level Spanish tutor, A Level Philos...
View profile
£20 /hr

Rachelle O.

Degree: Spanish and Philosophy (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered: Spanish, Religious Studies+ 4 more

Religious Studies
Philosophy and Ethics
-Personal Statements-

“About Me:Hello there! My name is Rachelle Ojomo and I am a first year undergraduate studyingSpanish and Philosophy at the University of Durham. I am incredibly passionate and enthusiastic about these two subjects and hope that after ...”

Leila H. Uni Admissions Test .TSA. Oxford. tutor, A Level English Lit...
View profile
£18 /hr

Leila H.

Degree: Politics, Philosophy and Economics (Bachelors) - Oxford, The Queen's College University

Subjects offered: Spanish, French+ 3 more

English Literature
English Language
.TSA. Oxford.

“About me:I am a Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) student at the University of Oxford. While I always knew that I have adeep love for humanities and social sciences, I was torn between the different subjects, from economics to...”

MyTutor guarantee

PremiumMorna C.
View profile
£22 /hr

Morna C.

Degree: Land Economy (Bachelors) - Cambridge University

Subjects offered: Spanish, French+ 2 more

-Personal Statements-
-Oxbridge Preparation-

“About Me I live in Paris and study International Economic Policy at SciencesPo.  My undergraduate degree was in Land Economy, which I studied at Pembroke College, Cambridge.  In between my undergrad and master’s, I worked as a project...”

About the author

Nathaniel A. GCSE Spanish tutor
View profile

Nathaniel A.

Currently unavailable: for new students

Degree: Hispanic Studies (Bachelors) - University College London University

Subjects offered: Spanish, History+ 2 more

English Literature
English Language

“About me:I am a 24-year-old tutor from Liverpool, and have recently moved back to the city. I hold aFirst Class Honours in Hispanic Studies from University College London, where I achieved the highest grades in the Department of Span...”

You may also like...

Posts by Nathaniel

How do I form the past simple tense in Spanish?

How do I form the past simple tense in Spanish?

How do you form the present perfect tense in Spanish?

Other GCSE Spanish questions

How do Spanish gender agreements work?

How do I form the past simple tense in Spanish?

How do I make sense of Spanish conjugations since they are not as complex in English? And what's the best way to learn them so I use them well?

What is adjectival agreement?

View GCSE Spanish tutors


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