Preterite vs. Imperfect Comparing Uses Mariel
Preterite Uses Indicate completed action in the past. Ayer fui a la tienda. Yesterday I went to the store.
Preterite Uses Indicate a series of completed actions in the past. Esta mañana me desperté, fui a la tienda, compré un refresco y lo bebí. This morning I woke up, went to the store, bought a soft drink, and drank it.
Preterite Uses Indicate the beginning of an action or condition. A las seis de la mañana, mis vecinos empezaron a gritar y me dio dolor de cabeza. At 6 a.m. my neighbors started to yell and it gave me a headache.
Preterite Uses Indicate ending of an action or condition. La fiesta terminó a las 2 a.m. The party ended at 2 a.m.
Preterite Uses Sum up a past action, condition, or opinion. Nevó todo el día ayer. Fue un día horrible. No me gustó estar en casa. It snowed all day yesterday. It was a horrible day, I didn’t like staying at home.
Imperfect Uses Set up a continuous background or a scenario in which events or actions occur in the past. This includes telling time, indicating age, and describing weather in the past. Eran las siete de la mañana. Hacía sol y no llovía. It was seven o’clock a.m. It was sunny and it wasn’t raining.
Imperfect Uses Describe mental, emotional, or physical states or conditions in the past. Yo pensaba que mis llaves estaban en la mesita de noche. I thought that my keys were on the nightstand.
Imperfect Uses Describe actions and events that were in progress in the past without emphasis on when they started or ended. Corría rápidamente en el parque. I was running very fast in the park.
Imperfect Uses To describe repetitive or habitual past actions – what one used to do. Almorzábamos juntas todos los sábados. We used to eat lunch together every Saturday.
Imperfect Uses Use with “ir a + infinitive” to anticipate “what was going (would) happen.” Iba a viajar a Teotihuacán pero tuve que trabajar. I was going to travel to Teotihuacán but I had to work.
1. English Game Directions • Read the sentence. • Decide if it shows a use of the preterite or imperfect tense. • Click to find out the correct answer! Good Luck!
English Game I arrived at school at 7:30 a.m. Preterite Tense! (Indicates a completed action in the past)
English Game It was 8 a.m. It was a cold morning and the sun was hiding behind the clouds. Imperfect Tense! (Sets up a continuous background with time and weather)
English Game I went to school yesterday. I was worried because I had three tests. Preterite Tense! (Sums up a past condition and opinion.)
English Game I used to run in the park every day. Imperfect Tense! (Describes a repetitive or habitual action)
English Game I was driving to work in my car. Imperfect Tense! (Describes an action that was in progress in the past without emphasis on when it started or ended)
2. Spanish Game Directions • Read the sentence. • Chose the correct tense. • Click to find out the correct answer! Good Luck!
Spanish Game Esta noche, estudié con mi amiga, comí con mi familia, y me duché. Preterite tense! (Indicates a series of completed actions in the past) This night, I studied with my friend, I ate with my family, and I showered.
Spanish Game Escuela terminó a la 2:15 p.m., luego comí a las 3 p.m. Preterite tense! (Indicates the endings of actions or conditions) School finished at 2:15 p.m., then I ate at 3 p.m.
Spanish Game Se preocupó sobre la prueba. Imperfect tense! (Describes a mental state or condition in the past) I was worried about the quiz.
Spanish Game Mi hermana empezó cantar en la ducha a las siete de la mañana. Preterite tense! (Indicates the beginning of an action or condition) My sister began to sing in the shower at seven in the morning.
Spanish Game Iban a escuchar la música pero tuvieron que leer los libros. Imperfect tense! (“Ir a + Infinitive:” to anticipate “what was going to (would) happen”) They were going to listen to the music but they had to read the books.