Learn the past tense in Spanish

The past tense is one of the fundamental dimensions in the conjugation of Spanish verbs. This verb tense allows us to refer to actions, events or situations that have occurred in the past, providing a historical and narrative perspective in communication. By using the past tense, we can go back in time and describe past experiences, establish sequences of events or express actions that have already concluded.


In Spanish, there are different verb tenses to express the past, each with its particular nuances and uses. The main past tenses are the Pretérito Perfecto Simple (Pretérito Indefinido), the Pretérito Imperfecto and the Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto. These tenses allow us to express various forms of the past, from punctual and specific actions to continuous or habitual situations in a past period.

In addition to these main tenses, we also find the Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto (or Pluscuamperfecto del Indicativo), which is used for actions that occurred in the past before another action already in the past. And finally we have the Pretérito Anterior, although less frequent in everyday speech, the Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto is a useful tool in narration and literature to establish the temporal sequence of events.

Mastering the use of past tenses in Spanish is essential for communicating accurately and fluently, allowing us to adequately express our past experiences and understand the narratives of others. Thus, the past tense in Spanish is an essential part of grammar that enriches our language and immerses us in the richness of the past in every conversation.


Simple Past tense in Spanish

In Spanish, the past simple is known as "pretérito perfecto simple" or simply "pretérito indefinido". It is one of the most commonly used past verb tenses and is used to describe actions or events that occurred at a specific time and have already been completed in the past.

Spanish Imperfect tense in Spanish

Learn here how to correctly use the imperfect tense in Spanish.

More information Â»

Past imperfect tense in Spanish

The preterite imperfect, also known as "imperfecto" or "pretérito imperfecto del indicativo", is another of the verb tenses used in Spanish to refer to past actions. Unlike the simple past (pretérito indefinido) which denotes actions completed in the past, the preterite imperfect is used to express actions that occurred habitually, repeatedly, enduringly or were in progress at a specific time in the past.

Do you want to perfect your Spanish and take it to the next level?

Explore the world and improve your Spanish at the same time! Learn with Sprachcaffe in an international group and live the adventure of a lifetime in Malaga, Madrid, Barcelona or Havana!

More information

Pretérito perfecto compuesto in Spanish

The preterite perfect compound is a verb tense in Spanish that is used to talk about actions that have occurred in the recent past and that have relevance in the present. It is a combination of two elements: the auxiliary verb "haber" conjugated in the present tense and the past participle of the main verb.

Past perfect compound tense

Learn here how to correctly use the past perfect compound tense in Spanish.

More information Â»

Pretérito pluscuamperfecto in Spanish

Here we teach you how to correctly use the past pluscumaperfect tense in Spanish.

More information Â»

Pretérito pluscuamperfecto in Spanish

The Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto, also known as "Pluscuamperfecto de Indicativo", is a Spanish verb tense that is used to refer to actions that occurred in the past prior to another past action. That is, it is used to talk about actions that had already occurred before another event in the past.

The formation of the Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto is made from the auxiliary verb "haber" conjugated in the preterite imperfect (imperfect of indicative) followed by the past participle of the main verb.

Pretérito anterior in Spanish

The past preterite is a verb tense used in Spanish, although it is less common in everyday use and is found mainly in the literary and formal register. It is formed by combining the preterite perfect simple (pretérito indefinido) of the verb "haber" in its preterite form and the past participle of the conjugated verb.


Learn the other Spanish verb tenses


Learn Spanish with Sprachcaffe