What follows is a quick review of the usage of the Preterit and Imperfect in Spanish. If
you don't think you need it and want to do the exercise now, click here .
The main difference between these two tenses is that the Preterit expresses the end or
completion the verb, whereas the Imperfect has no sense of completion. Sometimes,
the usage of one or the other is indifferent from a grammatical point of view; thus, we
can say Te veía desde la ventana, as well as Te vi desde la ventana. In both cases, the
action denoted by the verb "ver" is already completed (it's past); in the first
case, though, the speaker focuses (for whatever reason)on an action which is not
completed; in the second instance, the Preterit expresses a specific moment of the
completed past action. Of course, this is a simplified perspective on the traditional
problem of the Preterit-Imperfect, but it's offered here as a general review.
We can divide the usage of the Preterit and Imperfect in Spanish as follows:
1. Descriptions in the past:
2. Description of emotional or physical states:
demasiado cansado para correr hasta el autobús
3. Anticipated actions in the past:
Íbamos a alquilar aquel coche.
4. Habitual or recurrent actions in the past:
De pequeño jugaba con mis amigos al escondite.
5. In indirect discourse:
Me dijo que me quería.
6. To tell the time:
Eran las cinco de la tarde en la plaza de toros.
1. Completed actions or a series of actions in the past:
Alquilamos aquel coche durante una semana.
Llegué, vi, vencí.
2. An emotional or physical change:
No nos alegramos al ver la factura.
Do the exercise
Your accents and spelling answers are crucial for the feed back of your answers: the
spelling of the verb forms must be correct in order for the program to recognize the
answer as correct. Please read the Foreing Diacritics document
if you have difficulties inserting accents and other Spanish diacritics in the blanks of
The feed back consists of different
pop-up windows with specific information related to each one of the 40 blanks of the
1. This is a self-check exercise:
click on each
after you type your answer.
2. If you have difficulties with the conjugations, there is a link like this one, Comp-jugador, at the end of each
3. To see the story with the answers, click on the "Comprobar respuestas" button
at the bottom of this Page when you have finished.