The preterite tense - when to use it
The Spanish preterite tense is used to describe completed actions in the past. For example:
- Fui al cine ayer (I went to the cinema yesterday).
- Viajamos en tren (We travelled by train).
- Mi hermana hizo sus deberes (My sister did her homework).
The preterite tense is used if the past action had a definite beginning and definite end and is often used with phrases that give a specific time frame, eg:
- ayer (yesterday)
- anteayer (the day before yesterday)
- anoche (last night)
- el año pasado (last year)
- el mes pasado (last month)
- la semana pasada (last week)
- The preterite tense is NOT used to describe people in the past or to describe or set a scene.
- It is NOT used to describe repeated or continuous actions in the past with no specific beginning or end.