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9.3: Time Expressions for the Preterite Tense

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  • El pretérito is used to discuss events in the past that were one-time occurrences, interrupting   actions, or actions confined to a specific time period.

    For this reason, the expressions below will elicit the use of the preterite tense.





    Anteayer: ___________________________________

    El/la ___________ pasad@: ____________________

    Hace (x amount of time) _______________________

    Por/ durante (x amount of time) _________________

    Una vez: ___________________________________

    Por primera vez: _____________________________

    El otro día: _________________________________

    Esta mañana/ tarde/ noche: _____________________

    En el verano de 2012: _________________________

    (Pinpointed moment in time)

    De repente: _________________________________

    Entonces: ___________________________________

    (Interrupting actions)


    This is not an exhaustive list, but is a good list of common time-related      expressions that lend themselves well to the preterite tense.

    *You can use siempre and nunca with the preterite, too. Evaluate their use on a case-by-case basis, remembering that preterite is used for one-time actions and the imperfect is used for repeated      actions.

    - Julián nunca me llamó.

    In this example, it implies a specific event. You were waiting for his call one day, and, “Julián never called me.”

    - Julián nunca me llamaba.

    In this example, it implies that it         happened more than once.  You often  expected or hoped to hear from him, but, “Julián never used to call me,” or, “Julián would never call me.”



    Mi familia y yo fuimos a Disneylandia en el año 1989.



    Mi sobrina aprendió a montar en bicicleta el fin de semana pasado.



    Actividad 6

    La última vez.  Use a preterite time expression to say when was the last time you did the     following activities.  Audio    Video


    1. Correr más de tres millas: _______________________________________________________

    2. Cocinar algo delicioso: _________________________________________________________

    3. Acampar: ____________________________________________________________________

    4. Salir a cenar: _________________________________________________________________

    5. Ir de vacaciones: ______________________________________________________________

    6. Visitar a la familia extendida: ____________________________________________________


    Actividad 7

    ¿Por cuánto tiempo?  Use “por” and an amount of time to say for how long you did these       actions in the past.  Audio   Video  


    1. Yo asistí a la escuela primaria: __________________________________________________

    2. Yo trabajé en mi primer empleo:_________________________________________________

    3. Yo estudié para la última prueba de español:_______________________________________

    4. Yo salí con mi primer(a) novi@:_________________________________________________

    5. Yo estuve de vacaciones:_______________________________________________________



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