European Spanish: Preterite vs Present Perfect [+4 Examples & Quiz]

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on email

In this Spanish grammar lesson, you will learn about preterite vs present perfect.

In this lesson you will learn about:

  • preterite vs present perfect
  • how to use preterite vs present perfect is used in sentences
  • how you can quiz yourself on preterite vs present perfect
  • how you can practice with flashcards on preterite vs present perfect
  • how and why you should use the courses of Language Atlas to learn Spanish

By the end of the lesson you will know all about preterite vs present perfect!

Table of Contents

Introduction to Preterite vs Present Perfect

Preterite SpanishPreterite EnglishPresent Perfect SpanishPresent Perfect English
anochelast nightaún, todavíastill
ayeryesterdayesta mañana/semanathis morning/week
el año pasadolast yeareste mes/verano/año/siglothis month/summer/year/century
de repentesuddenlyhoytoday
en (mes/estación/año)in (month/season/year)nuncanever
la semana pasadalast weeksiemprealways
últimamentelately
yaalready

In this lesson we will explore two tenses that can be used to talk about events in the past.

It can be tricky to know when to use which one.

If you haven’t already done so, please read the lessons on when to use the preterite tense and when to use the present perfect tense.

You need to know the content of those lessons to understand this one.

Having said that, the table of trigger words has also been included to help understand when to use which tense.

Preterite vs Present Perfect

Preterite vs Present Perfect

Think of time as blocks.

The preterite will be used for past events before the current block of time.

The present perfect will be used for past events in the current block of time.

El mes pasado hablé con mi madre.

Last month I spoke to my mother.

Because this event is before the current block of time (today), you will use the preterite.

Este mes he hablado con mi madre.

This month I spoke to my mother.

Because this event is in the current block of time (this month), you will will use the present perfect tense.

All you have to do is look at if an event is before the current block of time, in which case you will use the preterite tense.

Or, if the event is in the current block of time, in which case you will use the present perfect tense.

You can also look at the trigger words if you are still unsure.

Should you talk about something that happened hours or minutes ago, then you can use both tenses:

Llamé a Carlos hace 30 segundos.

I called Carlos 30 seconds ago.

He llamado a Carlos hace 30 segundos.

I called Carlos 30 seconds ago.

Example Sentences on Preterite vs Present Perfect

This section of the lesson on preterite vs present perfect is about seeing the tenses used in sentences.

This is valuable because you can improve your understanding of preterite vs present perfect through examples.

El mes pasado hablé con mi madre.

Last month I spoke to my mother.

Este mes he hablado con mi madre.

This month I spoke to my mother.

Llamé a Carlos hace 30 segundos.

I called Carlos 30 seconds ago.

He llamado a Carlos hace 30 segundos.

I called Carlos 30 seconds ago.

Quiz Yourself on Preterite vs Present Perfect

At the end of every lesson you can do a small quiz.

You will see the sentences of the previous chapter.

You will either need to fill in the blanks, choose the correct multiple choice option, or both.

Once you are done the correct answer will be shown.

You can redo the quiz as many times as you want!

The Courses of Language Atlas

Have you ever wondered what the best way is to learn a new language?

I have been learning languages for over 20+ years and I was always frustrated with books, courses, and classes that I had tried.

It never really seemed to work for me.

I wanted to learn a language in the most effective and efficient way, and there was nothing out there for me.

So I thought, “why not make something myself?“.

Using my experience and by doing research I created Language Atlas, a platform where people can learn French and Spanish in the most effective and efficient way.

I created free lessons and quizzes so that there would always be an easy and accessible way for people to learn or brush up on their language skills.

However, I also created courses that are much more comprehensive and in-depth.

These courses are easy to follow, clear, and allow you to become fluent in the most effective and efficient way.

The courses of Language Atlas have:

  • 800+ Lessons with audio
  • 800+ Quizzes
  • 10,000 Flashcards with explanations, images, and audio
  • A gamified way of learning a new language
  • A vibrant community (including support from me)

You can register for free and try the French A0/A1 and Spanish A0/A1 Courses for free!

This includes over 60 lessons and quizzes, 500 flashcards that adapt to how you learn, and access to the community (including support from me).

All you have to do is study 30 minutes a day and you will be fluent in no time!

Don’t miss out – register for free and start learning!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Don't miss out on any new French Lessons! You will also get a free copy of our graphical overview of all French Verb Tenses!

More To Explore

Do You have any feedback? let me know!

I would love to know how I can make learning Languages easier for you