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Preterite vs. Imperfect (Pretérito vs. Imperfecto)

Preterite vs. Imperfect (Pretérito vs. Imperfecto)

Author: Melissa Schenck

To distinguish between the two types of past we've learned.

To apply these rules to narrating situations, stories and historical eras.

Click "See more" for a more in-depth description of the video!

  • So, up to this point we have seen two different tenses devoted completely to talking about the past - the preterite and the imperfect.  We have used them separately up until now, but the time has come to use them together. With this new application of these two tenses, you will be able to narrate stories/events in the past tense with much more detail.  These could be life experiences, made-up stories or daily events.  You will also be able to understand song, news stories and story stories much better!  Being able to use these tenses together is a key skill you will need from here on out, so let's make sure you get a strong foundation now.
  • These two videos and the accompanying form are meant to help you be able to have multiple explanations (in addition to the one I will give you) for why you'd use the preterite or the imperfect when talking in the past in Spanish. I have an acronym that we will use, but you may prefer the explanations that the videos use better.
  • ***If you need a review of what basic preterite and imperfect conjugations look like, watch the beginning of the second video. Otherwise, skim the review of this, skip to 3:36 and watch from there to answer the form's questions. 
  • MAKE SURE TO TAKE NOTES. Write down as many examples as you feel you need. Write down the conjugations of both tenses in your notes to have them all in one place (though there are irregulars in both...).
  • DON'T FORGET THE SECRET PHRASE. La frase secreta es: "Habia una vez..." (once upon a time...)​
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Preterite vs. Imperfect Video #1 Q2-5 of form

This video is short with a very visual representation of the preterite vs. imperfect choice. EDIT: she should say "Jugaba al _sport_"

Source: Sarah Beth Wood/YouTube

Preterite vs. Imperfect Video #2 Q6-11 of form

This video is longer, but has more examples and a different way to figure out if the verb is in the preterite or imperfect tense. You can skim through the first 3 1/2 minutes and get a quick refresher on endings or you can choose to watch the whole things and get a more thorough review before the new material.

Preterite vs. Imperfect (Pretérito vs. Imperfecto)

Form for two Preterite vs. Imperfect Tutorial Videos

Source: melissa schenck/google drive

Preterite Vs. Imperfect Song/Rap

Another way to learn the rules for preterite and imperfect! Enjoy.

Source: SlusionProductions/ YouTube