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Learn Spanish grammar patterns (verb conjugation-preterite)

I love teaching patterns that help my students learn Spanish grammar in a fast and easy way.

In fact, there is an easy pattern that you can use to build the past tense, and here it is.

If you already can conjugate in the present tense, the past tense (preterite), will be a lot easier to learn.

Here are some memorization tricks to learn your preterite conjugation. As you can see in the chart below, there is a similarity on how each ‘person’ in the AR, ER and IR verbs conjugates in the past (I have bolded the similarities). Notice a couple of vowel changes in those conjugations (in red for AR verbs, in blue for ER-IR), and you will be able to memorize these patterns more easily.


Verbs with AR endings: (notice that you keep the letter A (from AR) for most of the endings tagged to the verb hablar. Only the past tense for YO tags the letter E and does not use the letter A at all. The third person (singular) conjugations actually end in the letter O, the way that YO conjugates in the present tense, except that the third person in the preterite ends in an O with an accent. Also notice that the past tense ending (AMOS), which is used for the pronoun nosotros, is the same ending we use to conjugate 'nosotros' in the present tense.

Verb: hablar

Yo hablÉ

Tú hablASTE

Él/Ella/Ud hablÓ

Nosotros hablAMOS

Vosotros hablASTEIS

Ellos hablARON

ER (notice that you change the E to the letter I for most of endings in the past tense of ER verbs)

Verb: comer

Yo comÍ

Tú comISTE

Él/Ella/UD com

Nosotros comIMOS

Vosotros comISTEIS

Ellos comIERON

IR (notice that you keep the letter I for most of endings in the past tense of IR verbs). ER and IR verbs both use the vowel I frequently when changing to the past tense. The past tense for nosotros is the same word as in the present tense.

verb: vivir

Yo vivÍ

Tú vivISTE

Él/Ella/Ud vivIÓ

Nosotros (as) vivIMOS

Vosotros vivISTEIS

Ellos vivIERON

Lissette Napoleoni

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