Resources and exercises

The Preterite in Spanish Grammar

Orthographic Changes with Verbs in the Preterite

1. The verbs whose form in the infinitive ends in: -car, -gar, -zar or –guar need to make a change in the last consonant before adding the first person singular ending for the preterite.

If the verb in the infinitive ends in one of the letters in the left column, you need to replace it with the one on the right.

Verb stem ending in:Change ending to:Examples:
-c -quBuscar: Yo busqué
-g -guPagar: Yo pagué
-z -cAlmorzar: Yo almorcé
-gu -güAveriguar: Yo averigüé

2. If the stem of an –er or an –ir verb ends in a vowel, you need to change the ending for the 3rd person (singular and plural) in the preterite: The 'i' changes to 'y'.

Example:

Leer: Yo leí, Tú leíste, Él leyó, Nosotros leímos, Vosotros leísteis, Ellos leyeron

Construir – Yo construí, Tú construiste, Él construyó, Nosotros construimos, Vosotros construísteis, Ellos construyeron.


3. The last orthographic change we will mention is for the verbs 'sonreír', 'reír' and 'freír'. These verbs lose the 'i' in the stem when conjugating them in the 3rd person singular and plural in the preterite.

Example:

Reír: Yo reí - Tú reíste - Él rió - Nosotros reímos - Vosotros reísteis - Ellos rieron


Notes & Exercises on the Spanish Preterite

Grammar Exercises - Preterite

 

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