Preterite vs Imperfect--How do you know which one to use?

Preterite vs Imperfect lesson for Spanish teachers: How to teach when to use which

Preterite vs Imperfect Lesson

Free Preterite vs Imperfect lesson

This is the perfect 3-5 day lesson plan for teaching preterite vs imperfect uses

In Spanish, the Preterite vs Imperfect is a tricky concept. Both of these tenses are used to talk about past events. Which one is used depends on the meaning the speaker wishes to convey.

Click below to get the FULL lesson and ALL activities about these two verbs today!

Get your free lesson here!

Spanish teachers, this is a great mini-lesson comparing and contrasting the uses of the preterite and imperfect verb tenses though a short comprehensible video that takes place in Costa Rica and an authentic text about an aspiring artist in Mexico City. 


My students are often confused about when to use the two past tenses the Preterite and Imperfect. These two past tenses are a complex grammar topic for second language learners to grasp. As teachers, we have all types of tricks and tools up our sleeves. This lesson is full of authentic and realistic ways for students to learn the differences between these two verbs.

My students enjoy the video, short story, online quiz and the acronym in this lesson; it gives them a ton of practice and helps them keep all the uses in order. They also enjoy any lesson that has a life application project in it. This is a multi-day lesson that you can use, tweak, differentiate and implement in your classes. Have fun with it! By the way, let me know how it goes by sharing your student’s projects here on our Facebook page and/or giving me feedback directly.

This lesson includes:

  • A 3 minute comprehensible video in Spanish that takes place in Costa Rica
  • A short story all about a young man following his dream to be a musician in Mexico
  • An easy to memorize acronym that helps students keep the uses straight
  • Practice activities
  • On-line quiz that gives instant results and helpful tips
  • A life-application project
  • An easy to implement lesson template for teachers

Preterite & Imperfect Video: “Cerca Eléctrica

Click below to download the FREE complete lesson plan which includes activities, video recommendations, practice exercises and life application project instructions.

Get your free lesson here!

If you’re ready to test your knowledge on preterite and imperfect verb tenses, take the 12 question quiz!

Preterite and Imperfect Quiz

Test your knowledge, take this Preterite and Imperfect quiz. You will be tested in a variety of formats. Don’t worry if you fail, you can take it over and over. ¡Buena suerte!

Oh, and one more thing. This quiz requires you to use accents. Here are some tips if you want to try and get your accents working:
Mobile and Tablet devices: Go to your settings and add the Spanish keyboard to your device.

Computer users:

Mac users (this is pretty simple):
[Option “e” + vowel] will give you accented vowels (á, é, í, ó, ú).
[Option “n” + “n”] will give you the ñ.

PC users (a tad more complicated). You have to make sure your computer’s language is set to “United States International”. Here is how you can do it:
Go to your Control Panel
Go to “Clock, Language & Region” settings
Go to the tab that says “Keyboards and Languages”
Click “Change Keyboards”
Select “United States International” (If this is not in your menu, click “add” and find “United States International”)
Click “Apply”
This may or may not make United States International your default language. As you’re trying to write special characters, if the instructions below aren’t working, you may need to look in your icon tray (bottom right) for a keyboard icon and select United States International.
Now onto inserting special characters in the form below:
To make an accented vowel: [tap apostrophe ‘ + vowel] and you should get your vowel with a Spanish accent mark on top of it
To make the ñ: [Press shift and the accent grave ` + n] and you should get the ñ.

Special Spanish Characters that you may need during your quiz:

á, é, í, ó, ú, ü, ñ, ¿, ¡

Copy and paste this characters when needed,

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