Spanish Preterite AR Verbs Spanish Verb Conjugation

Hola, and welcome to the Spanish “spine verb” section. The correct grammatical name for this verb tense is the “preterite” tense. If you are taking Spanish in school or with a tutor or teacher, they will usually call it the “preterite” tense. Because the word “preterite” is hard to relate to anything we have nicknamed this tense the “spine” tense after the spine in your back. First of all, your spine is in back of you, representing the past tense. If you run your hand left to right across your back, you will feel that there is a definite starting point and ending point to your spine. Like your spine, the spine tense represents a singular event in time that has a definite starting and ending point.

Spanish mini-course

Here are a few examples of spine verbs.

I ate
She sat
They traveled
We walked

Just like with our comparison with the spine, with each of these verbs, the situation started, had a definite ending, and happened in the past. The next lesson will teach you to conjugate using the “spine” or “preterite” tense.

Ar Spine Spanish Verbs Explanation

Let’s learn how to conjugate “ar” spine verbs or otherwise called the “preterite” tense. We’ll use the verb “hablar” which means “to talk or speak”.

If I want to say I spoke, I would say (Yo) hablé We spoke would be (Nosotros) hablamos
Notice that this conjugation is the same as the present tense. This is correct and the only way to tell the difference between present and the past spine tense is by the context. For example, “hablamos ayer” would be “we spoke yesterday”. And, “hablamos hoy” would be “We speak today”.
To say Juan or María, You spoke I would say (Tú) hablaste (tú plural – used only in Spain) would be (Vosotros) hablasteis
He spoke would be
She spoke would be
You spoke would be
(El) habló
(Ella) habló
(Ud.) habló
They spoke would be
They (women) spoke would be
All of you spoke would be
(Ellos) hablaron
(Ellas) hablaron
(Uds.) hablaron

Now take a look at the Spine AR endings one more time and repeat them.

é amos
aste asteis
ó aron

Now let’s try a few of these:

I spoke Hablé
You spoke Hablaste
He spoke Habló
She spoke Habló
You spoke Habló
We spoke Hablamos
They spoke Hablaron
They spoke Hablaron
All of you spoke Hablaron

Let’s take one more look at the “ar” spine verb endings:

é amos
aste asteis
ó aron

Now we’ll practice with a few different verbs. Are you ready?

I danced (Yo) bailé
You rested – using “tú” (Tú) descansaste
He studied (Él) estudió
She visited (Ella) visitó
You traveled – using “usted” (Ud.) viajó
We called (Nosotros) llamamos
They drove (Ellos) manejaron
All of you practiced (Uds.) practicaron

How did you do? Before going on to the practice session, we need to learn a few new words and take a look at some usage situations.

First our new Vocabulary

the milk la leche
all night toda la noche
this morning esta mañana
yesterday ayer
the window la ventana
the beans los frijoles
last night anoche
the party la fiesta
never nunca
a lot mucho
last month el mes pasado

Now we’ll take a brief look at a couple of usage situations. The verb “to enter” in Spanish is “entrar”. If you add a location after the word “entrar”, you need to put the word “en” afterwards. – For example, if you say I enter the house, in Spanish you would say “Entro en la casa” and if you say “I enter the car” you would say “Entro en el carro”.

Now, our final usage example: When you say “to try”, then add another verb, you have to add the word “de” between them. For example: “I tried to eat” – in past tense - would be “traté de comer”, the phrase “He tried to run would be “trató de correr”, and the phrase “We tried to speak” would be “tratamos de hablar” Remember, the AR verb “nosotros” form is the same in the present tense as well as the past tense. In the following Practice Session, you’ll have the chance to conjugate many ar spine verbs.

Spanish Practice Session – Spine Practice

Now, we’ll go ahead and begin our “ar” spine verb practice. As usual, you’ll read a phrase in English and you try to conjugate it into Spanish.

I answered Yo contesté
(Marta) You bought it (la leche) La compraste
He called her yesterday. La llamó ayer
She changed it. Lo cambió
(Sra. Benites) You didn’t clean it (la ventana) No la limpió
We cooked them (los frijoles) yesterday Los cocinamos ayer
They danced last night. Bailaron anoche
All of you drew one. Dibujaron uno
I drove to the store. Manejé a la tienda
(Martín) You ate dinner last night. Cenaste anoche
He explained it well. Lo explicó bien
She fixed it yesterday Lo arregló ayer
(Sr. Mendes) You helped me this morning Me ayudó esta mañana
We invited them (ellos) last week Los invitamos la semana pasada
They kept the money. Guardaron el dinero
All of you listened well. Escucharon bien
I watched TV last week. Miré la televisión la semana pasada
(Juana) You painted it (la casa) last week La pintó la semana pasada
He planned the party Planeó la fiesta
She rested a lot this morning Descansó mucho esta mañana
(Sra. Olivares) You never returned. Nunca regresó
We sent it (la carta) yesterday La mandamos ayer
They never sang it (la canción) Nunca la cantaron
All of you studied a lot. Estudiaron mucho
I swam last month Nadé el mes pasado
I entered the store Entré en la tienda
(Martín) You never took it Nunca lo tomaste
He traveled last month Viajó el mes pasado
She used it (la computadora) a lot La usó mucho
(Sr. Mendoza) You visited them (ellos) Los visitó
We waited for her all night La esperamos toda la noche
She tried to eat Trató de comer
They walked to the park last month Caminaron al parque el mes pasado
All of you worked a lot last month Trabajaron mucho el mes pasado.

Repeat this lesson if you’re not comfortable with it yet. Otherwise go ahead and move on.

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