Spanish for Educators - Regular Verbs in the Preterite in Spanish

Spanish for Educators – Regular Verbs in the Preterite in Spanish

Regular Verbs in the Preterite

In this Spanish for Educators lesson you will learn how to use and conjugate the regular verbs in the preterite (past tense) in Spanish: Verbos regulares en el pretérito.

Here is the Spanish lesson I taught to my Maestro Miércoles Facebook group:

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El Objetivo:

En esta lección, teachers will:

  • Learn how to conjugate regular verbs in the preterit past tense
  • Understand that there is a conjugation pattern to memorize
  • Form complete sentences in the past tense
  • Start communicating with correct regular preterite past tense verb conjugations!

Unos ejemplos / Some Examples

Spanish English
Ayer ellos estudiaron matemáticas en grupos   Yesterday they studied math in groups
Anteayer, Robert pegó a John The day before yesterday, Robert hit John
Yo leí por 30 minutos anoche I read for 30 minutes last night
La semana pasada, nosotros escribimos un cuento corto   Last week, we wrote a short story
Ellas mejoraron su comprensión el mes pasado They improved their comprehension last month

Did you know there are two past tenses in Spanish and they are not used interchangeably? You have to learn when to use which one. Here is a fun way to learn when to use the Preterito past tense.

Usos: SPICY y el Pretérito:

SPICY is a good acronym to learn when you want to start using the Pretérito in Spanish to talk about specific actions that happened in the past.

S: Specific actions: completed in the past

  • Julia comió tres comidas ayer  

P: Past actions and events that occurred 1 time or a specific amount of times

  • Ella participó en el Spelling Bee el marzo pasado

I: Interrupting actions:

  • La familia hablaba y de repente los estudiantes gritaron

C: Completed actions (not ongoing) in the past

  • Marcos terminó su proyecto para la feria científica 

Y: Yesterday & other preterite triggers

  • Ayer mi clase recibió un chequeo de piojos

Verbos Irregulares / Regulares: When we talk about Preterite Verbs, there are 4 big categories to learn. This lesson focuses on the regular preterite verbs.

Spanish English
1.  Verbos Regulares Regular Verbs
2. Verbos Irregulares   Irregular Verbs
3. Verbos con Cambios de Raíz Stem-Changing Verbs
4. Verbos Reflexivos   Reflexive Verbs

Clasificaciones de Verbos / Verbs Classification: Verbs unconjugated or in the infinitive either end in -AR, -ER, -IR.

You need to know how verbs end so you know how to conjugate them.



El primer paso / First Step

1. Quitar la terminación de -AR, -ER. -IR / Remove the -AR, -ER, -IR Ending

Verbos -ar: Verbos -er: Verbos -ir:
Examinar   – Examin_ Comer – Com_  Escribir  –  Escrib_
Estudiar – Estudi_  Obedecer  –  Obedec_  Vivir – Viv_

El segundo paso / Second Step

2. Agregar la terminación del pretérito / Add the Preterite Ending

This step is very important to understand since in Spanish the accents can change the tense of the verb: “hablo” and “habló” are written in two different tenses (hablo is in present tense while habló is in past tense).


Yo = é Nosotros = amos
Tú = aste
Él, Ella, Usted = ó  Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes = aron


Yo = í Nosotros = imos
Tú = íste
Él, Ella, Usted =  Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes = ieron

Los verbos del -AR / -AR Verbs


Spanish English

Yo = é


I yelled

Tú = aste


You yelled

Él, Ella, Usted = ó


He, She, You yelled

Nosotros/as = amos


We yelled

Vosotros/as = asteis


You all yelled

Ellos, Ellas, Ustedes = aron


They, You all yelled

Download Verbs in the Preterite in Spanish Notes TODAY

Los verbos del -ER y -IR  /- ER & -IR Verbs

Good news! -ER and -IR Verbs share the same endings in the pretérito 🙂


Spanish English
Yo = í


I shared
Tú = iste


You shared
Él, Ella, Usted =


He, She, You shared

Nosotros/as = imos


We shared

Vosotros/as = isteis


You all shared

Ellos, Elllas, Ustedes = ieron


They, You all shared

Palabras disparadoras del pretérito / Preterite Trigger Words

Just like in English, Spanish has trigger words to warn you the actions happened in the past.  Here are some pretérito triggers; be sure to use them when speaking in the past tense.

Spanish English
Esta mañana This morning
Ayer   Yesterday
Anteayer The day before yesterday
Anoche Last night
El año pasado Last year
El mes pasado   Last month
La semana pasada Last week
El fin de semana pasado Last weekend
Una vez Once
La primera vez The first time
El + día de la semana + pasado Last + day of the week
Hace + time period Some + time period + ago
De repente   Suddenly

Vamos a practicar / Let’s Practice

Here are some exercises to practice the regular verbs in the preterite 🙂

Spanish English
1. El año pasado la maestra __________ (trabajar) en la escuela bilingüe. Last year, the teacher worked in the bilingual school
2. Anoche nosotros __________ (estudiar) español. Last night, we studied Spanish
3. Ayer tú __________ (comer) muchas frutas y verduras. Yesterday you ate a lot of fruits and vegetables
4. Hace tres años yo __________ (vivir) en Colorado. Three years ago, I lived in Colorado
5. La semana pasada él ___________ (escribir) un ensayo. Last week, he wrote an essay

Now What? / ¿Ahora qué?

Here are two excellent ways to start practicing the regular verbs in the preterite in Spanish

Pelota de verbos

Dado de verbos

Now it’s your turn! / Ahora es tu turno

Study all of this classroom vocabulary in Spanish with these flashcards!

Download the lesson notes and start creating your own sentences using this new vocabulary in Spanish and share them on the comments below or in our Facebook group to receive feedback from other Spanish learners ?

I packaged all of this into easily downloadable .pdf notes– Get your copy for free today!

Download Verbs in the Preterite in Spanish Notes TODAY

¡Arriésguense, abran la boca y cometan errores!

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