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https://www.duolingo.com/MartaWalachowska

Talking about the past- Spanish.

Hello. I started studying Spanish some time ago, and even though technically I know how to conjugate verbs I still have problems with speaking in Spanish about the past. Does anyone have any tips or exercises that would help me with improving that skill? Any help is much appreciated! :)

3 years ago

10 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/writchie4
writchie4
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Understanding the past tense is difficult in Spanish, even for learners that have been working at it several years. Unlike English, Spanish has two simple past tenses, the preterit and the imperfect. The preterit is used for actions that have a well-defined start and end time. The imperfect is used for actions that were performed habitually in the past. Luckily, because lots of learners have trouble with the two, there's loads of webpages dedicated to explaining the difference. Here's a couple:

Outside of getting familiar with the rules, the best I can say is that you'll get better with practice. As you hear more and more instances of the two being used correctly, you'll start knowing which is proper without having to stop and think, "ok, which one do I use here?" Good luck.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MartaWalachowska

thank you for your help :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/romastutts
romastutts
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I think the Duolingo drills are pretty good. A really good online conjugator is 123teach me ( http://www.123teachme.com/spanish_verb_conjugation/correr ) I like it because if you look to the column on the left under íngles, it shows how the verb form is used in a sentence. Keep in mind that there's more than one past tense in Spanish. To me, present perfect is the easiest (have run, have eaten, etc.) The preterit is for things that happened at a specific point in the past (Corrí ayer - I ran yesterday). The imperfect is for things that don't have a clear beginning or ending - things that used to happen (Corría cuando era joven - i used to run when I was young). Hope this helps.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MartaWalachowska

I will definitely check out the 123teachme online conjugator. ¡Muchas gracias!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TatianaBoshenka

Thanks for that conjugator on 123 teach me. That's exactly what I've been looking for!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

In general, when narrating the past, the imperfect is used to describe the scene (ongoing activity) and the preterit to express action. While it was raining (imperfect) I heard (preterit) a gunshot.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jhonyp14
jhonyp14
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Hello, I speaking little english, but can it . collabolare.

Buenas tardes. Mi idioma nativo es el españl. pues escribeme cual es tu problema y si puedo te colaboró.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hart.Will

Though duolingo is a great educational tool, I don't think there is any substitute for listening to native speakers. I know english speakers, here in Mexico, who never opened a book or took a lesson but they speak great Spanish! Getting tossed into the deep end and having to speak a language forces you to pay attention...

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wynrich
wynrichPlus
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If some of your confusion is about whether to use the imperfect or preterite past tense, I like the way the teacher at languagetransfer.org explains the difference. The imperfect is used when you are talking about a line in the past and the preterite is used to talk about a point in the past. Hope that makes sense. If it does, might be helpful. I strongly recommend going through the whole Spanish audio course. Less than 15 hours very well spent and a great complement to Duolingo. I downloaded the files to my phone and listen to them at night before going to sleep: http://www.languagetransfer.org/#!blank/cbjz

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Resonance2001

I don't know about outside of Spain, but I generally use the imperfect for descriptions, the preterite for a past action with a start and a stop but is unrelated to the present (such as something I did a couple of years ago) and the perfect tense when it is related to the present or it's effect continues to the present. The subjuctive ones are a tricky subject but if you're interested, maybe my videos will help as they cover all the past tenses http://youtu.be/BeqQuJsFJhk

3 years ago