Spanish Verbs. Lesson 2

Free course on Spanish verbs - Lesson 2

Spanish verbs
Course on verb tenses and forms

Lesson 2: ¿Qué pasó ayer? What happened yesterday?

In this lesson we will learn:

  • how the simple past tense is formed (Pretérito perfecto simple)
  • what situations and time markers help us to choose the simple past tense

Does it seem to you that there are so many Spanish tenses, that you will never master them? Don’t worry. The secret of success is to create a clear matrix in our head where each tense has its special place. First, stop trying to remember all the tenses at once. Remember the situations and the time markers for each tense. You will see that at the end of the course, all the tenses will take their place in a logical and beautiful system of verb forms.

New vocabulary


In this lesson, we will practice the following vocabulary. Read the words, listen to the audio and remember them:











dato historico

historical event


police station




jewelry store






theft, robbery







en ningún momento

never, at no time



ser bueno con algo

to be good at something

pasar, suceder

to happen


to invent


to realize


to fly


to die


to become extinсt


to marry, get married


to suspect


to steal, to rob


to swear, vow


to confirm


to enter


to menace


to get up


to recognize


to coincide, to fit, to match


to lose

acabar, terminar

to finish, to end (up)

acabar de hacer algo

someone just did something


to disappear

dejar a alguien tirado

(figurative meaning) to abandon, to leave somebody somewhere


to fall in love

hacerle caso a alguien

to pay attention to someone

darse cuenta de algo

to notice something

Spanish dialogues


Listen carefully to the following Spanish dialogues. They will help you understand the grammar of this lesson:

Spanish grammar

Spanish grammar

Read carefully the explanation of the grammar of this lesson:

How the simple past tense is formed (Pretérito perfecto simple)

Pretérito perfecto simple is the simple past tense, which is also called “perfect” (completed) past or “historical” tense. When you look at the situations where this tense is used you’ll understand that all these names make sense. But first, let’s see how this tense is formed:

person -ar: hablar (to speak) -er: aprender (to learn) -ir: vivir (to live)
yo hablé aprendí viví
hablaste aprendiste viviste
él, ella, usted habló aprend viv
nosotros hablamos aprendimos vivimos
vosotros hablasteis aprendisteis vivisteis
ellos, ustedes hablaron aprendieron vivieron

Many verbs have irregular forms of Pretérito perfecto simple. In the table below you’ll find the most important irregular verbs. However, we suggest looking up every new verb in the dictionary to make sure you use it correctly.

person ser/ir (to be/to go)* estar (to be) poder (to be able, can, may) decir (to say) saber (to know) pedir (to ask) dormir (to sleep)
yo fui estuve pude dije supe pedí dormí
fuiste estuviste pudiste dijiste supiste pediste dormiste
él, ella, usted fue estuvo pudo dijo supo pidió durmió
nosotros fuimos estuvimos pudimos dijimos supimos pedimos dormimos
vosotros fuisteis estuvisteis pudisteis dijisteis supisteis pedisteis dormisteis
ellos, ustedes fueron estuvieron pudieron dijeron supieron pidieron durmieron

*The verbs ser and ir have the same forms in the simple past tense. This is due to the fact that these verbs are both derived from the Latin verb “esse”. Be careful, in other tenses these verbs do not have the same form.

There are several “irregular” verbs in this lesson

Let’s pay attention to the special forms of the verbs, which we’ve seen in the dialogues of this lesson:

  • morir (to die) ⇒ yo morí, tú moriste, él murió, nosotros morimos, vosotros moristeis, ellos murieron
  • dar (to give) ⇒ yo di, tú diste, él dio, nosotros dimos, vosotros disteis, ellos dieron

Don’t forget that the reflexive verbs change not only the endings, but also the pronouns in each person:

  • enamorarse (to fall in love) ⇒ yo me enamoré, tú te enamoraste, él se enamoró, nosotros nos enamoramos, vosotros os enamorásteis, ellos se enamoraron

When should I use Pretérito perfecto simple?

Try to memorize the situations in which the simple past is used:

  1. A specific date or moment in the past:
  2. La guerra empezó en 1939. – The war started in 1939.
    Ayer me levanté a las 9 de la mañana. – Yesterday I got up at 9 a.m..

  3. Sequence of events (finished actions) in the past:
  4. Me levanté, tomé un café en una cafetería y cogí el bus número 7. – I got up, had a coffee in a cafe and took bus 7.

  5. When the action has been completed in the past:
  6. La semana pasada fuimos a tomar unas cervezas. – Last week we went to have some beers.
    El mes pasado nos casamos. – Last month we got married.

The following are indicator words for this tense:

  • ayer, anteayer
  • Ayer no fui a trabajar. – Yesterday I didn’t go to work.
    Anteayer ví a tu hermano. – The day before yesterday I saw your brother.

  • anoche
  • Anoche bailamos un rato en una discoteca. – At night we danced a little bit at the disco.

  • hace unos días/meses/años
  • Hace unos días alguien robó un reloj de oro. – Several days ago somebody stole a golden watch.
    Los dinosaurios se extinguieron hace millones de años. – Dinosaurs became extinct millions of years ago.

  • el domingo pasado/la semana pasada/el siglo pasado etc.
  • El domingo pasado comimos unas hamburguesas en este restaurante. – Last Sunday we ate hamburgers in this restaurant.
    El siglo pasado se inventó el avión. – Last century the airplane was invented.

  • a certain moment in the past:
  • En 1961 el hombre voló al espacio. – In 1961 man flew into space.
    El día de mi cumpleaños besé a Mónica. – On my birthday I kissed Monica.

Don’t confuse the constructions “acabar algo” and “acabar de hacer algo”

The verb “acabar” means “to finish (end) something” or “to be finished, to finish, to end”. Have a look at the examples:

  • Tienes que acabar el trabajo. – You should finish the work.
  • La noche acabó de una forma inesperada. – The night ended in an unexpected way.

The construction “acabar de hacer algo” is translated as “have just done something”. It is interesting to note that the verb “acabar” is used in the present tense, even though we mean a сompleted action:

  • Acabo de ver a Pablo. – I’ve just seen Pablo.
  • Acabamos de salir de casa. – We have just left the house.
Spanish test


Check what you remember from this lesson:

1. Nos casamos ____ .
este mes
esta semana
el mes pasado

2. La guerra ____ empezar.
acaba de

3. Esta persona ____ en 1930.

4. ____ a las 8 de la mañana y desayuné.
Me levanté
Levanté me

5. El Pretérito perfecto simple se usa ____ .
para hablar de lo que está pasando ahora
para hablar de lo que pasó ayer
para hablar de lo que va a pasar mañana

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