Chapter 5

Imperfect vs. Preterit

The most commonly used verb tenses, in narrations, in Spanish, are the preterit and the imperfect.



The preterit
  • El pretérito answers, “What happened”?
  • Is used to relate events
  • Commonly used to narrate activities that,
    • lasted for a precise length of time,
    • happened a precise number of times,
    • with a definite beginning and end.
The imperfect
  • El imperfecto answers, “what was going on when something else happened”?
  • Is used to describe what was going on, states of being, or past habits in the past.
  • is used for indefinite lengths of time.

Commonly used with:

A table that displays Adverbs and the imperfect tense
Adverbs & The Imperfect
todos los días, todas las mañanas
every day, every morning
generalmente, usualmente
generally, usually
en el pasado, antes
long ago in the past
siempre, a menudo…
always, often
A table that displays Adverbs and the preterit tense
Adverbs & The Preterit
 un día, una mañana, una tarde…
one day, one morning, one evening
de prepente
de inmendiato, inmendiatamente
right away, immediately
primero finalmente…
first of all, finally


A table that displays 3 sentences that have blanks to be filled in order to complete the sentence. The blanks are indicated with an input box with the question number inside
Tuve un accidente en mi cochoe la semana pasada. Nosotros
(viajar) a
un hotel en la playa cuando chocamos (we crashed). Mi hijo
en el coche conomigo. El conductor (driver) del otro coche
muy rápido.



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Spanish 002 by Ana Serrano is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.