María


Irregularities of the Pretérito Indefinido tense in Spanish. Talking about the past (III) 7

Few days ago, a follower of my Facebook page asked me for help about his personal nightmare in Spanish. For him, the irregular verbs in the Pretérito Indefinido (Past Tense) were just something he couldn’t understand, so he wrote me few lines asking me for some tips. As this week, I also had a class with one of my students, working on the same topic, I decided I was going to spend some time answering all your prayers about the irregularities of the verbs in the Pretérito Indefinido in Spanish. 

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The past tense – Pretérito Indefinido – is used to talk about the past in Spanish. We used to talk about actions accomplished in a particular moment in the past.

El año pasado mis padres y yo nos mudamos a nuestra nueva casa. – Last year, my parents and I moved to our new house.

So, the action (mudarse = ‘to move’) was accomplished, finished in an specific time in the past (el año pasado = ‘last year’). We also use the pretérito indefinido to express an action that happens in the past, occurs in the middle of other action.

– Justo cuando estábamos pasándolo mejor, tuvo que irse. – Right when we were having more fun, he had to go.

As you can see, there are two actions: one extended in time (pasarlo bien = ‘have fun’) and one that happens in the middle of the previous one (tener que irse = ‘have to go’). In those cases, the action that happens in the middle of another action goes in pretérito indefinido.

Form

To conjugate a regular verb in the “Indefinido”, you just need to drop the endings -ar, -er or -ir from the infinitive form and add the endings.

Indefinido

 

Irregular verbs

Unfortunately there are quite a few irregular verbs in this tense. Verbs with an irregular root:

Indefinido_Irregular

Indefinido_Irregular

Some other irregularities:

  • Verbs ending by -ducir in the infinitive (like “producir”, “conducir”, “traducir”) C > J

The “c” in the root becomes “j”.

– Conducir: Conduje, condujiste, condujo, condujimos, condujisteis, condujeron.

  • Verbs that have an “-i-” between vowels with the verbs that en in “-er” and “-ir” in the infinitive, change the “i” for a “y” in the 3rd person of the singular (he/she) and of the plural (they). I > Y

– Leer: Le-ió > Leyó / Le-ieron > Leyeron – Contruir: Construyó / Construyeron – Oir: Oyó / Oyeron

  • Verbs ending by -zar in the infinitive (empezar, comenzar, cazar…) Z > C

The “z” becomes “c” only in the 1st person singular (yo).

– Empezar: Empecé, empezaste, empezó, empezamos, empezasteis, empezaron.

  • Verbs ending by -car in the infinitive (sacar, aparcar…) C > QU

The “c” in the rot becomes “qu” for the 1st person singular (yo).

– Sacar: Saqué, sacaste, sacó, sacamos, sacasteis, sacaron.

  • Verbs ending by -gar (llegar, jugar…) G > GU

The “g” in the root becomes “gu” in the 1st singular (yo).

– Llegar: Llegué, llegaste, llegó, llegamos, llegasteis, llegaron.

  • Verbs whose root end by “-ll” and “-ñ” (bullir, tañer…) won’t have the “i” in the 3rd person of singular and plural.

– Bullir: Bulló (not bullió) / Bulleron

  • Some verbs ending by “-er” and “-ir” in the infinitive change their vowel (E > I // O > U) in the 3rd person singular and plural. They are the same that change their vowel in the present of indicative (irregular verbs in the Present).

– Pedir: Pedí, pediste, pidió, pedimos, pedisteis, pidieron. – Dormir: Dormí, dormiste, durmió, dormimos, dormisteis, durmieron.

Otros verbos irregulares:

Andar > anduv-                             Caber > cup-
Haber > hub-                                 Poder > pud-
Poner > pus-                                  Saber > sup-
Decir > dij-                                   Querer > quis-
Traer > traj-                                  Venir > vin-

Note: 

Much of the above type and style of clarifications, grammar, and other tricky elements are now covered in Compass Spanish (a new course comprised of daily mini-lessons delivered straight to your inbox). If you struggle to find the time or have a busy schedule, try out a free week (no strings attached and no credit card required!).

Spill the Beans (1)


Uneven couples in Spanish

As you all know, all nouns in Spanish have a genre, they are masculine or feminine. The main trait to distinguish if a word is masculine or female is by the ending. If the word ends by -o is masculine and if it ends by -a is feminine, although there are quite a few exceptions to this rule and other possible endings.

What I am going to focus in this post is about the regular pair of words that end in “o” and “a”, and the big change that “o” and an “a” make in terms of meaning.

Foco ≠ FocaUneven Couples I

El foco” is a ‘spotlight’ or a ‘torch’ which has nothing to do with “la foca“, that cute marine mammal, a ‘seal’.

Cigarra ≠ Cigarro

La cigarra” is the lazy insect of the Aesop fable called ‘cicada’, whereas “el cigarro” is a cigarette.

Cartera ≠ CarteroUneven Couples II

La cartera” is a wallet and “el cartero” is the profession of that man that always calls twice, the postman.

Puerta ≠ Puerto

La puerta” means the ‘door’, whereas que “el puerto” is a ‘port’, a ‘harbour’.

Caña ≠ Caño

La caña” has multiple meanings, from a ‘cane’, to a ‘rod’ (caña de pescar) and the very important ‘small draft beer’ that this teacher loves so much: “¡Una caña, por favor!“. These meanings have no connection whatsoever with “el caño“, that means a ‘pipe’, or ‘waterpipe’.

Tinta ≠ TintoUneven Couples III

Ok, here both are liquids but not of the same kind. “La tinta” means ‘ink’ and “el tinto” is that wonderful red beverage, red wine, that is.

Marca ≠ Marco

La marca” means a ‘brand’, whereas “el marco” is a ‘frame’.

Palo ≠ PalaUneven Couples IV

El palo” is a stick and “la pala” is a ‘shovel’.

Bala ≠ Bolo

“La bala” is a ‘bullet’ whereas que “el bolo” is a ‘bowling pin’.

There are other “uneven couple” of Spanish words that means completely different things depending on whether they are masculine or feminine. So, don’t forget to check out the gender!

 


Humor, movies, songs and lots of Spanish: “Mucha Guasa”

Last week, a friend and I launched Mucha Guasa (‘Much Banter’) an educational page intending to teach Spanish in a fun way.

A daily video of my friend singing or performing a line from a song or a movie translated into Spanish, which you, my dear Spanish lovers / learners can try to guess which movie or song he is performing.

Accompanying those highly entertaining videos, and contributing to the educational side, it’s me explaining some grammar point or idiom appearing in the translation.

Fun? Lots. Here is just an example of him singing.

Learning? Of course! So far, we have seen the use of the intensifier “demasiado / demasiada”, the “future simple”, the use of “ya” and “ya no” and the use of “como” as an adverb of manner, and we only launched last Wednesday!

Like us and start having fun while learning Spanish for free every day.


False Friends (I): “to realize” in Spanish

In this short post you will learn how to translate the verb “to realize” in Spanish. This is a false friend in Spanish, because we have the verb “realizar” but it’s nothing alike “to realize”.

falsefriends1

To realize ➠ ‘darse cuenta’

Realizar ➠ ‘to make, accomplish’

See? Not the same.

Now, look at this sentence:

– I didn’t realize Elisa was in the party.

How would you translate it into Spanish?

– No realicé que Elisa estaba en la fiesta. ——> Wrong! 🙁
– No me di cuenta que Elisa estaba en la fiesta. ——> Right! 🙂

So, remember:

“To realize” in English means “darse cuenta de algo” in Spanish. Whereas “realizar” means “to make”.


Comprensión oral – #1

This is one of the latest activities I made for my advanced students in Spanish. You can practice your Spanish listening comprehension with it. Just watch the video and answer the questions below.

¡Buena suerte!

________________________________________________________________

Mira el video y responde a las siguiente preguntas.

[wpsqt name=”Primavera con espinas” type=”quiz”]

 

Hey, pssst, how did it go? 


Suggest, accept and refuse plans

Suggest plans

How useful is it to find the ways to propose, accept and refuse plans? In this post you will learn how to do exactly that.

There are several ways of suggesting plans. Here I’ll show you few:

– ¿Porqué no vamos a la playa mañana?
– Why don’t we go to the beach tomorrow?

– ¿Te apetece ir al cine?
– Do you fancy going to the cinema?

– ¿Quieres visitar el Museo del Prado esta mañana?
– Do you want to visit Museo del Prado this morning?

– ¿Y si vamos a cenar a este restaurante esta noche?
– What if we go to that restaurant tonight?

Podemos ir a casa de Pedro.
– We can go to Pedro’s place.

– Oye, ¿quedamos mañana para jugar al tenis?
– Hey, do we meet to play tennis 
tomorrow?

– ¿Nos vemos luego?
– See you later?

– ¿Qué tal si vamos a casa de Pedro?
– What about going to Pedro’s house?

– ¿Qué te parece si nos quedamos en casa hoy?
– What about staying at home tonight?

As you can see, it’s important to know the conjugation of the verb “poder” (‘can’), “apetecer” (‘feel like + -ing’ / ‘fancy’) and “querer” (‘want’) and “quedar” (‘arrange to meet someone’ remember “quedarse” and “quedar” are not the same, as I explained in this post).

 Accept plans (Aceptar)

To accept a plan that has been suggested to us, we can say:

Vale. (Ok)

De acuerdo. (Alright)

Bien. (Fine)

Refuse plans (Rechazar)

Whereas to refuse the plan we have been suggested, we can say:

No, lo siento, no me apetece. (No, I’m sorry, I don’t feel like it.)

No puedo. (No, I can’t.)