Chapter 11   --   Expressing Past Time

The Simple Past Tense is used to describe an action which occurred at a specified time, and is now over.
This form is most commonly used when we tell stories, relate history, or retell events.

It is used with a clear description of time, such as “yesterday, “last week”, “in the year 1776”, and so on.

The endings for this tense are added to the verb stems. The endings for verb group 1 are -é, -aste, -ó, -amos, asteis, -aron

Group 1     regular verbs         example: pasar, to pass   (the stem is pas-)

Stem Ending Spanish English
pas é yo pasé I passed, did pass
pas aste tú pasaste You passed, did pass
pas ó él pasó He passed, did pass
pas ó ella pasó She passed, did pass
pas ó usted pasó You passed, did pass
pas ó quién pasó Who passed, did pass
pas amos nosotras, -os pasamos We passed, did pass
pas asteis  vosotras, -os pasasteis You passed, did pass
pas aron ellas, -os pasaron They passed, did pass
pas aron ustedes pasaron You passed, did pass
pas aron quienes pasaron Who passed, did pass

note:     if a stem ends with -c, the -c is changed to -qu before an ending that begins with e or i

            if a stem ends with -g, the -g is changed to -gu before an ending that begins with e or i

In group 1, the following verbs are irregular in the simple past tense:

          andar ( to go): anduve, anduviste, anduvo, anduvimos, anduvisteis, anduvieron

          cruzar ( to cross): crucé, cruzaste, cruzó, cruzamos, cruzasteis, cruzaron

                        like cruzar:   gozar, to enjoy     rezar, to have to do with     tropezar, to meet unexpectedly

          dar ( to give): , diste, dió, dimos, disteis, dieron

          estar ( to be): estuve, estuviste, estuvo, estuvimos, estuvisteis, estuvieron

In group 2 and 3, the regular endings are -í, -iste, -ió, -imos, -isteis, -ieron

Group 2     regular verbs         example: vender, to sell   (the stem is vend-)

Stem Ending Spanish English
vend í yo vendí I sold, did sell
vend iste tú vendiste You sold, did sell
vend él vendió He sold, did sell
vend ella vendió She sold, did sell
vend usted vendió  You sold, did sell
vend quién vendió Who sold, did sell

          note: if the stem ends in -a, -e, or -o, the ending -ió is changed to -yó

vend imos   nosotras, -os vendimos We sold, did sell
vend isteis vosotras, -os vendisteis You sold, did sell
vend ieron ellas, -os vendieron They sold, did sell
vend ieron ustedes vendieron You sold, did sell
vend ieron quienes vendieron Who sold, did sell

note: if the stem ends in -a, -e, or -o, the ending -ieron is changed to -yeron

In group 2 the following verbs are irregular in the simple past tense:

          caber ( to fit): cupe, cupiste, cupo, cupimos, cupisteis, cupieron

          haber ( to have): hube, hubiste, hubo, hubimos, hubisteis, hubieron

          hacer ( to do): hice, hiciste, hizo, hicimos, hicisteis, hicieron

          poder ( to be able):pude, pudiste, pudo, pudimos, pudisteis, pudieron

          poner ( to put): puse, pusiste, puso, pusimos, pusisteis, pusieron

          querer ( to want): quise, quisiste, quiso, quisimos, quisisteis, quisieron

          saber ( to know): supe, supiste, supo, supimos, supisteis, supieron

          ser ( to be): fuí, fuiste, fué, fuimos, fuisteis, fueron

          tener ( to have): tuve, tuviste, tuvo, tuvimos, tuvisteis, tuvieron

          traer ( to bring): traje, trajiste, trajo, trajimos, trajisteis, trajeron

          ver (to see): vi, viste, vio, vimos, visteis, vieron

Compound verbs have the same irregularities as the base verb.

          thus atraer becomes atraje, atrajiste, atrajo, atrajimos, atrajisteis, atrajeron

In group 3 the following verbs are irregular in the simple past tense:

ceñir, to encircle: ceñí, ceñiste, ciñó, ceñimos, ceñisteis, ciñeron

like ceñir constreñir, to constrict
estreñir, to constipate *gruñir, to howl
heñir, to knead reñir, to quarrel
teñir, to tint,dye
[*gruñí, gruñiste, gruñó, gruñimos, gruñisteis, gruñeron]
consentir, to consent: consentí, consentiste, consintió, consentimos, consentisteis,
like consentir advertir, to advertise
convertir, to convert diferir, to differ, disagree
divertir, to enjoy divertirse, to enjoy oneself
hervir, to boil mentir, to lie, tell a falsehood
preferir, to prefer referir, to refer
sentir, to regret, to feel sorry sentirse, to feel well or ill
decir, to say: dije, dijiste, dijo, dijimos, dijisteis, dijeron
like decir
bendecir, to bless contradecir,to contradict
desdecir, to disagree interdecir, to forbid, prohibit
maldecir, to curse predecir, to predict
dormir, to sleep: dormí, dormiste, durmió, dormimos, dormisteis, durmieron
like dormir dormirse, to fall asleep
morir, to die (thing or animal) morirse, to die (a person)
freír, to fry: freí, freíste, frió, freímos, freísteis, frieron
like freír refreír, to refry
reír, to laugh sonreír, to smile
ir, to go: fuí, fuiste, fué, fuimos, fuisteis, fueron
pedir, to ask a favor:  pedí, pediste, pidió, pedimos, pedisteis, pidieron
like pedir competir, to compete
concebir, to conceive derretir, to melt
desleir, to dilute despedir, to say goodbye
desvestir, to undress desvestirse, to undress oneself
embestir, to assault, attack engreir, to make vain
expedir, to send off gemir, to groan
impedir, to impede medir, to measure
rendir, to yield rendirse, to surrender  
repetir, to repeat revestir, to cover
revestirse, to face someone or something servir, to serve
vestir, to dress vestirse, to dress oneself
producir, to produce: produje, produjiste, produjo, produjimos, produjisteis,
like producir aducir, to adduce
conducir, to conduct, to lead deducir, to deduce
inducir, to induce introducir, to introduce
lucir, to shine, excel reducir, to reduce
seducir, to seduce traducir, to translate
seguir, to follow: seguí, seguiste, sigo, seguimos, seguisteis, siguieron
like seguir:
conseguir, to get, obtain perseguir, to persecute
venir, to come: vine, viniste, vino, vinimos, vinisteis, vinieron
like venir: circunvenir, to circumvent
convenir, to convene intervenir, to intervene
prevenir, to prevent reconvenir, to reconvene
revenirse, to change one’s mind venirse, to come back


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