El Aula – Spanish Preterite and Imperfect When to Use Them (2 of 3)

date scale aula pret imperfHow do I know when to use the Spanish Preterite and Imperfect?

This is probably one of the most asked questions by every student of the Spanish language that is faced with the daunting task of talking in the past.

One of the hurdles that everyone has to overcome, no matter which part of Spanish grammar they are studying, is that usually these kind of questions have no short answer.

Normally, we are loaded down by a whole host of rules and regulations that we have to consider before we can even get a word out of our mouths.

Native speakers have it easy.

Native Spanish speakers do not have this problem. In fact, they are blissfully ignorant of all of the rules we have to learn to enable us to get it right. That’s because they have learnt by ear, which is how we learnt our own maternal language.

We, sadly, don’t have that luxury and are obliged to mechanically work through the rights and wrongs without the benefit of being able to say: It just sounds right. or That sounds terrible.

What I have aimed to do in this podcast is to distil all of these rules into a simplistic way of thinking that, if used correctly, will allow you to get it right at least 8 times out of 10.

Just like all learning, the more you study and listen to native speakers talk, the easier it will be to simply go with your intuition when it comes to choosing the between the Spanish preterite and imperfect.

Time and effort sorts everything out for you. However, in the mean time, by watching this video or listening to this podcast a good few times, it will give you the foundation you need to steer you in the right direction and will allow you to build on a solid understanding.

How do I clear up my confusions?

I’ve always found that when I am confused about a particular grammar point, I make mistake after mistake without ever understanding why or knowing if I have it right or not.

The answer, for me, has always been to ask, read up on it, use the Internet, go on a chat room and ask someone, ask my teacher or anything else that might help me clear the confusion up.

This is one of the great benefits of one to one classes. We have seen so many of our students really begin to surge forward once they begin one to one classes with us on Skype.

Be careful who you ask!

If you are able to, we suggest that you find a teacher to help you. Be careful not to ask people who have no idea of their own grammar rules (this is the majority…so beware). I did this a lot and it caused me even more confusion.

We hope this podcast helps you in your learning journey.

Gordon 🙂

Video for This Spanish Lesson

Audio for This Spanish Lesson