When To Use The Preterite [+6 Examples & Quiz]

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In this Spanish grammar lesson you will learn about when to use the preterite.

In this lesson you will learn about:

  • when to use the preterite in Spanish
  • how the preterite is used in sentences in Spanish
  • how you can quiz yourself on when to use the preterite
  • how you can practice with flashcards on when to use the preterite
  • 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 when to use the preterite!

Table of Contents

When to Use the Preterite

You will use the preterite to refer to a specific completed action in the past, or multiple specific completed actions in the past.

Here is an example of a specific completed action in the past:

mudarse

Me mudé a Ámsterdam en 2015.

I moved to Amsterdam in 2015.

This is a specific completed action in the past.

You moved to Amsterdam in 2015.

This action is done.

Here is an example of multiple specific completed actions in the past:

ir

La semana pasada fueron a un concierto todos los días.

Last week they went to a concert every day.

These are specific completed actions in the past.

Every day a group of people went to a concert.

The action is done.

Here are some words that trigger the preterite:

ayeryesterday
anochelast night
anteayerthe day before yesterday
de repenteall of a sudden
el lunes/fin de semana/mes/año pasadolast Monday/weekend/month/year
en [año]in [year]
hace [número] años[number] years ago
un díaone day
una mañana/tardeone morning/day

Example Sentences on When to Use the Preterite

This section of the lesson on when to use the preterite is about seeing it used in sentences.

This is valuable because you can improve your understanding of when to use the preterite through examples.

mudarse

Me mudé a Ámsterdam en 2015.

I moved to Amsterdam in 2015.

ir

La semana pasada fueron a un concierto todos los días.

Last week they went to a concert every day.

ir

Anoche fuimos a cenar al mejor restaurante de la ciudad.

Last night we went to dinner at the best restaurant in town.

dar

Hace unos días, David le dio todos sus ahorros a sus padres.

A few days ago, David gave all his savings to his parents.

cantar

Vosotros cantasteis en mi última fiesta de cumpleaños.

You sang at my last birthday party.

llegar

Nosotros llegamos hace dos semanas.

We arrived a couple of weeks ago.

Quiz Yourself on When to use the Preterite

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!

Fill in the Blank!La semana pasada a un concierto todos los días. [ir]

Last week they went to a concert every day.
Fill in the Blank!
Anoche a cenar al mejor restaurante de la ciudad. [ir]

Last night we went to dinner at the best restaurant in town.
Fill in the Blank!
Vosotros en mi última fiesta de cumpleaños. [cantar]

You sang at my last birthday party.

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 a 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!

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