Easy Spanish Grammar: The Past

Easy Spanish Grammar The Past


Welcome back to our Spanish Grammar series!

This week’s post is devoted to past tenses in Spanish and their (closest) equivalents in English. Are you ready to continue improving your Spanish with us?

Bring it on

Let’s start by having a look at the following example:

Ayer estuve con María y me dijo que estaba bien (I met María yesterday and she told me she was all right).

Both are past actions, right? What’s the difference between those two conjugated forms of the verb estar, then?

As we mentioned in a previous post on Spanish Grammar the present, the easiest way to understand verb tense usage is to create equivalence charts. They will work as a quick reference to remind you of the tenses you are learning to use, their general concordances, as well as their exceptional uses:

Past TensesSpanishEnglish
Pretérito Indefinido


Past simple
Ayer salí de trabajar a las 3 de la tarde.

El mes pasado fui de viaje a Asia.

Al final no vi la película.

¿Dónde fuiste el fin de semana pasado?
I left work at 3 pm yesterday.

I travelled to Asia last month.

I didn't watch the film in the end.

Where did you go last weekend?
Pretérito Imperfecto de Indicativo


Past Simple, Past Continuous, would, used to
Después de la operación apenas comía porque me dolía la boca.

La verdad, no esperaba verte aquí.

Cuando era pequeño, dormía mucho.

Yo ya no soy lo que era.
I ate very little after the operation because my mouth hurt,

I wasn't expecting to see you here, to be honest.

When I was little, I would sleep a lot.

I'm not what I used to be.
Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto de Indicativo


Past Perfect
Cuando llegamos a la estación, el tren ya había salido.

Ayer no fui al cine contigo porque ya había visto esa película.
When we arrived at the station, the train had already left.

I didn't go to the cinema with you yesterday because I had already watched taht film.
Soler (imperfecto) + infinito


would, used to
Cuando era más joven, solía ir de compras todos los sábados.

Solíamos enviar muchos correos electrónicos, pero ya no lo hacemos.
When I was younger, I would go shopping every Saturday.

We used to send many emails, but we don't do that any more.

New Grammar Challenge?

Grammar Time

If you would like us to create a new grammar challenge for you to practise present and past tenses, just let us know by posting below! ⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️

¡Feliz aprendizaje!

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