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Preterite vs. Imperfect

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Preterite vs. Imperfect. Imperfecto. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • Eran las nueve de la noche. Era viernes. Haca mal tiempo. Llova. Todos estbamos en casa. Mam y Pap miraban la televisin; yo lea una novela de StarTrek; mi hermana hablaba por telfono con su novio en su cuarto. Esnupi (nuestro perro) dorma detrs del silln en la sala.It was 9:00 at night. It was Friday. It was bad weather. It was raining. We were all at home. Mom and Dad were watching television; I was reading a StarTrek novel; my sister was talking on the phone with her boyfriend in her room. Esnupi (our dog) was sleeping behind the armchair in the living room.IMPERFECTO

  • De repente, Entr un ladrn! Pas por la escalera y camin hasta el dormitorio de mis padres. Mir en el cuarto cuando oy la voz de mi hermana. Se volvi y baj las escaleras. Trat de huir de la casa, pero Esnupi se despert y mordi la pierna del ladrn.Suddenly, a robber entered! He went upstairs and walked down to my parent's bedroom. He looked in the room when he heard my sister's voice. He turned and went down the stairs. He tried to flee the house, but Esnupi woke up and bit the robber's leg.PRETRITO

  • EL PRETRITO Y EL IMPERFECTOIf we are talking about the past, how can we decide which past tense to use?

    This Venn Diagram sets up the basicsPASTPRETERITEIMPERFECT-one time action-completed event-ongoing actions-events that used to happen

  • However, there are more detailed reasons when you would use one versus the otherRemembering these acronyms will help you really understand all the detailed differences:



  • Bbeginning or end of an actionOone timeLlightning fast!TtransitionsSseries of eventsEL PRETRITO

  • Ejemplosempezar/comenzarto begin/to startEl hombre empez a llorar. (The man began to cry.)Yo empec a comer. (I started to eat.)terminarto end/to finishLos estudiantes terminaron las pruebas. (The students finished the quizzes.)


  • EjemplosYo fui a la tienda la semana pasada. (I went to the store last week.)Nosotros vimos la pelcula anoche. (We saw the movie last night.)


  • EjemplosYo estudiaba cuando lleg mi amigo. (I was studying when my friend arrived.)De repente, el enemigo apereci a la puerta! (Suddenly, the enemy appeared at the door!)



  • EjemplosPrimero me despert y entonces me duch. (First I woke up and then I showered.)Luego, el principe y la princesa se casaron. (Later, the prince and princess got married.)TRANSITIONS (FIRST, THEN)BOLTS

  • EjemplosSara cen, hizo la tarea y se acost. (Sara ate dinner, did her homework and went to bed.)Fuimos de compras, compramos la ropa y regresamos a casa. (We went shopping the day, bought clothes and went home.)SERIES OF EVENTSBOLTS

  • anocheayeranteayerun dala semana pasadael mes pasadoel ao pasadoel lunes pasado

    SOME KEY TRIGGER WORDS FOR THE PRETERITElast nightyesterdayday before yesterdayone daylast weeklast monthlast yearlast (Monday, Tuesday, etc.)

  • luegodespusentoncesde repenteinmediatamenteanything else that has a mente attached to the end that provokes a rapid response within a story (dont confuse with the ones mentioned in the imperfect tense)MORE TRIGGERS FOR THE PRETERITEthenafter (afterwards)then, after thatsuddenlyimmediately

  • Uused toBbackground informationOongoing actionsAageTtiempo (time and weather)


  • EjemplosYo siempre jugaba al ftbol cuando era nio.(I would always play/I always played soccer when I was a kid.)Mi hermano iba a la primaria de Greenman.(My brother used to go to Greenman Elementary.)


  • EjemplosEl prncipe era muy valiente. The prince was very brave.Haba mucha gente all. There were a lot of people there.

    *haba = there was/there were (past of hay; from haber)


  • EjemplosElla estudiaba mientras yo toma una siesta. She was studying while I was taking a nap.Nosotros jugbamos ftbol cuando empez a llover. We were playing soccer when it started to rain.


  • EjemplosRemember we use the verb TENER to talk about age!Yo era muy bajo cuando tena 4 aos. I was really short when I was four.Mis primos tenan 6 y 8 aos. My cousins are 6 and 8 years old.


  • EjemplosEran las dos cuando llegamos. It was 2:00 when we arrived.Haca fro y llova. It was cold and raining.


  • siemprenuncaUsualmentenormalmentecada (ao, verano)todos los dasmientraslos lunesgeneralmentecon frecuenciaSOME KEY TRIGGER WORDS FOR THE IMPERFECTalwaysneverusuallynormallyeach/every (year, summer)every daywhileon(Mondays)generallyfrequently

  • VERB ENDINGS: PRETERITE-AR-ER/-IRasteamosasteisaronisteiimosisteisieron

  • VERB ENDINGS: IMPERFECT-AR-ER/-IRabaabasababamosabaisabanaasaamosaisan

  • PRACTICA: PARTE 1IPPIIPIPPIPIhablar; l/ella decir; yo ir/ser; ellosir; ellos ver; t dar; yo comer; nosotros comer; nosotrostener; t ser; t hacer; l/ella trabajar; yo/l/ella

  • Choose whether the following statements would be considered preterite or imperfect in Spanish:I went to the store last night.She used to play with dolls.They would always eat early.We cooked dinner at 5:00.You made cookies yesterday.When I was 5, I ate cookies every day.PRACTICA: PARTE 2PRETERITEIMPERFECTIMPERFECTPRETERITEPRETERITEIMPERFECT

  • Yo ________________ (ir) a la tienda anoche. _____Ella ________________ (jugar) con las muecas cuando era nia. _____Ellos siempre ________________ (comer) temprano. _____Nosotros ________________ (preparar) la cena a las cinco. _____T ________________ (hacer) galletas ayer. _____Cuando yo ________________ (tener) 5 aos, ________________ (comer) las galletas todos los das. _____PRACTICA: PARTE 3fueOjugabaUcomanOpreparamosOhicisteOtenaA / Ucoma

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