A recent study that was made that focused on the use of language showed that a typical conversation tends to fall into two categories:
We are either talking about the future or we are talking about the past.
Of course, we didn’t need a language study to tell us that, did we? However, with that in mind, doesn’t it seem reasonable then, that to be able to have a jolly good conversation in the Spanish language, you should be able to command the past tense, otherwise known as the Preterite in Spanish?
With that in mind and to help you to be truly at ease with this extremely important tense we have created this podcast and the supporting Helpsheets. Our aim is to help you understand, through simple demonstration, how to use the preterite past accurately and well.
We’ve heard many students complain to us that the preterite in Spanish is a difficult tense to master. This is probably because of its many irregular forms, yet, no matter how irregular it gets, it’s used so often that before long you’ll have it mastered.
How to get it locked into your mind.
We don’t know if you’ve noticed but nearly all novels are written in the past tense. They recount a story that has already happened. Thus, if you really want to grasp the past, then all you need to do is to start to read books in Spanish. Simple, easy to read novels such as: El niño del pijama de rayas. = The boy in the striped pyjamas. or, El curioso incidente del perro a media noche. = The curious incident of the dog at midnight.
Both of these books are readily available in Spanish and have been written from the perspective of a young person, which makes them a little easier to understand.
A great tool.
If you do decide to read a novel, however, expect it to challenge you at the start. Many of our students now use Kindles, etc. which have touch screen and built in translators/dictionaries. This saves you having to grab your dictionary every thirty seconds.
It’s this repetition and focus that will get the preterite in Spanish firmly imprinted on your brain so that you can start using it like a true native speaker.
Clearly, our ten minute podcast isn’t enough to do justice to the complexity of this tense and so we have compiled a wealth of additional information and guidance in our comprehensive help sheets. Not sure if you think they’ll help? Why not download our free Spanish worksheets and decide for yourself?
Gordon y Cynthia 🙂