Beginner Spanish Lesson 41 Comparing Pretérito Indefinido and Pretérito Perfecto Posted by on Oct 16, 2012 in Basic, Learning, Pronunciation, Spanish Grammar, Spanish Vocabulary, Videos

In this Beginner Spanish lesson we are going to compare various key words of the Pretérito Indefinido and Pretérito Perfecto Spanish grammar tenses and compare the uses of these tenses.

Both these Spanish grammar tenses are used to talk about the past, but they are quite different.

There are various key words specific to each tense which work can help you identify which tense is being used or which tense you should use.

So let’s start by taking a look at these key identifying words for both Spanish grammar tenses:

Pretérito Indefinido:

• Ayer: Yesterday
• El otro día: The other day
• El mes pasado: Last month
• La semana pasada: Last week
• Anoche: Last night
• En (year): In (year)
• En (month): In (month)
• El (day of the week): On (day of the week)

Pretérito Perfecto:

• Nunca: Never
• Hasta ahora: Up until now
• En mi vida: In my life
• Hoy: Today
• Últimamente: Lately
• Todavía/aún: Still/Yet
• Ya: Already
• Este/a mes/año/semana: This (month/year/week)
• Una vez: Once
• Dos veces: Twice

Now, let’s see some example Pretérito Indefinido and Pretérito Perfecto sentences using these key words:

• Ayer fui a la playa: Yesterday I went to the beach
• Hoy he ido a la playa: Today I went to the beach

• Estuvimos en Madrid el año pasado: We were in Madrid last year
• Hemos estado en Madrid tres veces: We have been to Madrid three times

• Vi a tu madre ayer: I saw your mum yesterday
• He visto a tu madre esta semana: I have seen your mum this week

• Ana leyó ese libro el año pasado: Ana read that book last year
• Ana ya ha leído ese libro: Ana has already read that book

• ¿Viste esa película anoche?: Did you see that film last night?
• ¿Has visto esa película?: Have you seen that film?

At this stage you are now familiar with lots of different Spanish grammar tenses and it can be a bit intimidating. Try not to get flustered by all of the grammar terminology: Pretérito Indefinido, Pretérito Perfecto, Pretérito Imperfecto, etc. For many students the titles make things sound more complicated than they actually are and scare you off.

Be careful also not to fall into the trap of trying to translate everything to your own language as you speak or write. Try to forget your own language as much as possible when you are studying Spanish and compare everything within the framework of what you know about the Spanish language.

Enjoy your Spanish studies and see you next time with another video lesson.

¡Hasta luego!

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About the Author: Laura

I am from Bilbao in northern Spain. I qualified as a Spanish Language Teacher in 2004. I have taught Spanish in England and Spain and now really enjoy teaching the Spanish Language via my website The Spanish Blog to students from all around the world. I love my job and the intricacies of the Spanish Language. My main personal interests are music, reading and cooking. I studied music for twelve years in Bilbao and I play the piano. I also enjoy singing and I try my best to sing more in English now. I hope very much that you enjoy my posts and welcome any comments.