Unidad 4: Estudiando en el extranjero

1. Comunicándonos en pretérito en el modo indicativo

A graphic of a polaroid photo with two figures smiling wearing birthday hats.The preterit tense, in the indicative mood, is used to talk about past completed actions that are facts, or were facts. It can narrate one isolated action or a series of actions, such as “I spoke, I ate, I studied, or I went to the store”.

Think of the preterit as a photo: a snapshot of a one-time action or completed action.

One way to remember when to use the preterit is: SAFE.

S—specific instance or number of times something happened.

Te dejé cinco mensajes. I left you 5 messages.

A—action that started and finished (happened) during an action in progress.

Mientras escribía, mi hijo me llamó. While I was writing (this is the action in progress), my son called me; this is an action that started and finished during an action in progress.) “He called” is a one-time action. Sometimes people generalize this rule as an interruption to an action in progress. While the concept of an interruption can be applied to the preterit, it is also important to note that we are not only referring to an interruption. Someone could have completed an action while someone else is doing something else. In this case the former is not an interruption; it is simply a completed action.

F—focus on the beginning or ending of an action.

Empecé la tarea tarde. I began the homework late.

La terminé a las dos de la mañana. I finished it at 2:00 AM.

Think of this logically, one starts or finishes something one time. It is not an ongoing start or end.

E—enclosed period of time.

Jugué voleibol por 4 años. I played volleyball for four (4) years. The four years is a specific enclosed period of time versus a general statement of “a lot “or “often”.

Knowing when to use the preterit is useful as a person tends to speak about one’s present, past or future more than other timeframes.

Observa el video 2.4.1 donde encontrarás como conjugar los verbos en el tiempo pretérito del modo indicativo. Write the translations of some of the common time frame vocabulary that indicates one is talking about the past and remember to make flashcards for these new vocabulary words to practice as well as the irregular verb patterns to help you study and recall them. Write your notes in the charts below.

Verbos regulares: In this section, write the infinitive endings for the AR, ER, IR verbs in the preterit.

To form the preterit, for the regular verbs:

  1. Take the root
  2. Add the preterit ending
Sujeto AR ER/IR*
él, ella, Ud.**
ellos, ellas, Uds.

*ER/IR verbs share the same preterit endings.

** first and third person need an orthographic stress.

Time frame vocabulary: (These time frames are commonly used with the preterit but may also be with the imperfect tense depending on the reasons one uses the imperfect which you will learn soon.)

Inglés Español
Last night
Last year
Ago + time frame* Hace 2 días
The day before yesterday
Last week
Last summer
One time

*With the expression hacer and a time frame, you are indicating the subject did something X number of minutes, days, months or years ago.

A continuación aplica las terminaciones del tiempo pretérito en el modo indicativo de los siguientes verbos regulares. Escribe su significado en inglés junto al infinitivo.

Sujeto Viajar Comer Vivir
él, ella, Ud.
ellos, ellas, Uds.

Practiquemos los verbos regulares en el pretérito del modo indicativo. Por favor utiliza respuestas completas.

  1. ¿Comiste el desayuno o el almuerzo hoy? ¿Qué comiste? ______________________________________________
  2. ¿Tomaste un café con un amigo o una amiga? ______________________________________________
  3. ¿Cocinaste anoche o saliste a un restaurante a comer? ______________________________________________
  4. ¿Viajaste a otro país el año pasado? ______________________________________________
  5. ¿Viviste en otro estado cuando eras niño/a? ¿En cuál estado viviste? ______________________________________________
  6. ¿Por qué decidiste venir a esta universidad? ______________________________________________
  7. ¿Caminaste a clase o tomaste el autobús? ______________________________________________
  8. ¿Anoche estudiaste mucho o miraste la tele? ______________________________________________
  9. ¿Asististe a todas tus clases ayer? ______________________________________________
  10. ¿Planeaste algo para el pasado fin de semana? ¿Qué planeaste? ______________________________________________


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Yo puedo: segundos pasos Copyright © by Elizabeth Silvaggio-Adams & Ma. Del Rocío Vallejo-Alegre is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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