Two Past Tenses

Spanish has two simple past tenses, where English only has one. These two past tenses, called "preterite" and "imperfect," are not interchangeable. The basic difference between the two can be summed up like this:

  • preterite is used for actions with a definite ending
  • imperfect is used for actions without a definite ending

These examples clarify the difference:

  • he ate three apples (definite ending, therefore preterite)
  • he ate an apple every day (no definite ending, therefore imperfect)

Continue to page 2.

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