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Past Progressive — Spanish Verb Conjugation

Here in the final “Doing Verb” lesson, you’ll learn a simple way to conjugate the past tense in Spanish. It’s used less commonly than other conjugations we’ll learn later on, but it’s easier than other past tense conjugations and very useful in helping you express yourself better in Spanish.

Here’s how it works. First, you conjugate “estar” in the past tense, then add a verb and put on either the “ando” ending for “ar” verbs or the “iendo” ending for “er/ir” verbs. Let’s see how to conjugate “estar” in the past tense.

“I was” would be
(Yo) Estaba

We were
(Nosotros) Estábamos

Remember, the endings are the same as normal doing verbs. You use “ando” for “ar” verbs and “iendo” for “er/ir” verbs.

- ando  (“ar” verbs)
- iendo (“er/ir” verbs”

“(María) You were” would be
(Tú) Estabas

All of you were (informal – used only in Spain)
(Vosotros) Estabais

“He or she was, or (Mrs. Jones) You were” would be
él,estaba
 ella estaba
Ud  Estaba

“They, or All of you were” would be
Ellos Estaban
Ellas Estaban
Uds. Estaban


Let’s take a look at a few examples of how this works. First we’ll look at a few “ar” verbs.

I was singing, would be                      (yo) Estaba cantando
She was walking, would be                (Ella) Estaba caminando
We were painting, would be               (Nosotros) Estábamos pintando
They were cooking, would be            (Ellos) Estaban cocinando

Now, we’ll take a look at a few “er/ir” verbs:

I was reading, would be                     (yo) Estaba leyendo
He was attending, would be               (él) Estaba asistiendo
We were believing, would be             (Nosotros) Estábamos creyendo
They were learning, would be   (Ellos) Estaban aprendiendo


In the following “Practice Session” you will practice the  past doing verbs. Remember, first, you conjugate a past form of the verb “estar”, then add a verb and the “ando” or “iendo” ending.



Doing - Spanish Practice

Now, we’ll practice a few of these before going to the review game. You’ll notice that there is a person with their back turned to the situation representing that the situation is happening in the past tense.

(Rosa) You were running

Estaba corriendo

He was selling cars

Estaba vendiendo carros

Juana was deciding

Juana estaba decidiendo

I was living in Texas

Estaba viviendo en Texas

(Mr. Rodriguez) You were opening the door

Estaba abriendo la puerta

We were writing letters

Estábamos escribiendo cartas

They were moving

Estaban moviendo

I was dancing

Estaba correindo

He was drawing

Estaba dibujando

She was studying

Estaba estudiando

(Juan) Were you eating breakfast?

¿Estabas desayunando?

Pedro was fixing the car

Pedro estaba arreglando el carro

(Mr. Garcia) You were helping a lot

Estaba ayundando mucho

We were eating yesterday

Estábamos comiendo ayer

If you feel comfortable with this section, go ahead and continue to the next lesson.

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