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9.8: Irregular Preterite Verbs, Part 4

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  • Finally, there are several verbs that change meaning when they are used in el pretérito. Here are some of the more commonly used meaning-changers:


    We know poder to mean “to be able to/ to can.”  However, when used in el pretérito, it means “to     manage to” in the sense of having tried to do something, and ultimately being able to do it.

    No poder

    When you make poder negative in el pretérito, it means to fail after attempting to do something.


    We know querer to mean “to want/ to love.”  However, when used in el pretérito, it means “tried to.”

    No querer

    When negative in el pretérito, querer means “to refuse.”


    We know saber to mean “to know” (learned knowledge).  However, when used in el pretérito, it means “to find out/ to discover.” If negative, it means to have never found out about something.


    We know conocer to mean “to know” (experiential knowledge).  However, when used in el       pretérito, it means “to meet for the first time.”


    Actividad 28

    Los verbos que cambian de significado.  Give the Spanish equivalent of each sentence below.

    1. Raúl failed to do all of his homework last night.                                                                                 ____________________________________________________________________________

    2. Laura tried to buy a ticket to Madrid yesterday.                                                                            ____________________________________________________________________________

    3. I managed to wash all of my clothing last weekend.                                                                      ____________________________________________________________________________

    4. My son refused to eat his vegetables this evening.                                                                         ____________________________________________________________________________

    5. My friends and I found out that Melissa is pregnant last week.                                                      ____________________________________________________________________________

    6. Did you meet your wife in college?                                                                                                ____________________________________________________________________________                              



    Actividad 29


    1.  El/ la profesor(a) no ____________________ comer cuy    cuando fue a Perú.

    Cierto          Falso



    2. El/ la profesor(a) no ____________________ calificar toda la tarea de sus alumnos el fin de semana pasado.

    Cierto          Falso




    3.  El/ la profesor(a) ____________________ a su futur@       espos@ en un bar de karaoke.

    Cierto          Falso




    4.  El/ la profesor(a) ____________________ que su ex-espos@ tenía otr@ espos@ y dos hijos en California.

    Cierto          Falso






    5.  El/ la profesor(a) ____________________ lavar, doblar, y     ordenar toda su ropa sucia ayer.

    Cierto          Falso


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