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I need help conjugating ser in the past tense. I know this can refer to two tenses in the Spanish language, but I don't know the difference. Can anyone help me?

  • Spanish -

    There are two past tenses of ser... the preterite and the imperfect.

    This site will explain the differences.





  • Spanish -

    Just in case that English explanation is not too clear, the difference between the preterit and the imperfect is one of my favorite things to teach!

    The Preterit narrates a completed action or event, similar to a snap shot. It has a beginning and an end. The English meaning will be something like: I read, I DID read.

    The Imperfect describes a situaton, similar to a moving picture. We know it had a beginning, and we assume it will have an ending, but we are focusing on the middle part. The English meaning will be something like: I read (same meaning as the preterit and this is what causes the confusion often), I WAS readING, I USED TO read.

    The preterit has some often used verbs with special meanings. "querer" will be "intended" or in the negative, "refused." "estar" will be a synonym of "llegar" = "arrived" "poder" will be "managed, could" "tener" is "got" in the sense almost of "grabbed" I'm sure at this point you are not concerned with that.

    It takes time to get a "feeling" for the difference between the two. When you do some exercises, be sure to check with us if you aren't certain.


  • Spanish -

    P.S. I forgot to mention that both "ir" and "ser" are identical in the preterit. You can tell it's "ir" because of an "a" when you state "to where" someone went.
    Examples: El fue estudiante. (ser) He was a student. El fue a la biblioteca. (ir) He went to the library.


  • Spanish -

    Wow, GuruBlue, what doesn't Wikipedia have these days?!

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