Spanish Tenses

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  1. Present Tense
    The present tense refers to the tense that may express an action at the present, a state of being, an occurrence in the (very) near future, or an action that occurred in the past and continues up to the present.
    • For example: Hablo may refer to
    • I speak (customary action)
    • I am speaking(action in progress)
    • I do speak(emphatic form)
    • I will speak(near future action)
    • do I speak(interrogative form)
    • I have been speaking(action started in the past but still in progrerss)
  2. Imperfect Tense
    * The imperfect tense is used to refer to actions in the past that occurred repeatedly.
    I used to walk every day.Yo caminaba cada día.

    *The imperfect tense is also used to refer to actions in the past that occurred over an extended period of time.
    I used to eat paella frequently.Yo comía frecuentemente paella.
    • *The imperfect tense is also used to "set the stage" for an event that occurred in the past.
    • We were coming home when we saw Juan.Veníamos para casa cuando vimos a Juan.

    • *Actions which are not physical, that is feelings and mental actions, usually use the imperfect tense.
    • Juan was feeling sick. Juan estaba enfermo.
    • *The imperfect is frequently associated with phrases that describe the frequency of past actions.
    • de vez en cuando -from time to time
  3. Preterite Tense
    *The preterite tense is used to refer to actions that occurred at a fixed point in time.
    I called at 1:00.Llamé a la una.
    *The preterite tense is also used to refer to actions in the past that were performed a specific number of times.
    I called you twice.Te llamé dos veces.
    *The preterite tense is also used to refer to actions that occurred during a specific enclosed period of time.
    He lived there for 5 years.Él vivió allí por cinco años.
    • *The preterite is also used for actions that are part of a chain of events.
    • I bought a hat, sat down on a bench and fell asleep.Compré un sombrero, me senté en un banco y me dormí.
    • *The preterite is also used for sudden changes of mood, feelings or opinions.
    • At that moment, I was not afraid. En ese momento, no tuve miedo.
    • *The preterite is frequently associated with phrases that pinpoint a particular occasion or specific time frame.
    • ayer-yesterday
  4. Future Tense
    *The future tense is used to tell what "will" happen, or what "shall" happen.
    I will go to the beach next month.I shall write the letter next week.
    *But, the future tense is not used to express a willingness to do something. For this, use the verb "querer."
    ¿Quieres ir a la tienda?Will you go to the store?
    *The future tense is also used to express wonder or probability in the present state.
    ¿Quién será ella?I wonder who she is? (Who could she be?) Estará viajando solo.He is probably traveling alone.

    • *For actions that will occur in the near future, the present tense is more commonly used.
    • Esta noche voy al cine.Tonight I'm going to the movies.
    • *Further in the future, use the future tense.
    • El año que viene iré a España. Next year I'm going to Spain.
  5. Imperative
    *Commands are used when ordering, or telling someone to do something. This is often referred to as the "imperative" form of the verb.
    Compra (tú) el anillo.(You) Buy the ring.Escribe (tú) la tarea.(You) Do the homework.Compra (tú) los libros.(You) Buy the books.Come (tú) la patata.(You) Eat the potato.
    *Remember that Spanish has both a formal and an informal style of speech (tú/Ud.). This distinction applies to commands.Compre Ud. el anillo. Buy the ring. (formal) Compra (tú) los dulces. Buy the candy. (familiar)*Remember, formal speech is generally used to be polite or to express respect. Informal, or familiar, speech is used among friends, coworkers, relatives, or when addressing a child.
    • *The affirmative informal (tú) commands are formed the same way as the present indicative Ud. form:
    • (hablar - ar + a = habla)
    • (comer - er + e = come)
    • (escribir - ir + e = escribe)
  6. Gerund
    The gerund is a special, invariable form of a verb which always ends in -ndo in Spanish. In English it is translates as the “-ing” form of the verb (for example, “speaking”). The gerund is a verb form which has an adverbial function ,not an adjectival function like a participle, nor a noun function like an infinitive.
    No me molestes; estoy trabajando. Don't bother me; I'm working.
    Forms: To form the gerund, remove the infinitive ending (-ar, -er, or -ir) of a verb and add:
    -ando for -ar verbs caminar > caminando
    -iendo for -er & ir verb volver > volviendo & abrir > abriendo.
    • Special Cases Gerunds
    • Verbs of the second and third conjugations for which the stem ends in a vowel, change the ending -iendo to -yendo: leer > leyendo; caer > cayendo.The gerund for the verb ir is yendo.Third conjugation verbs with stem changes:(Those which have the changes o>ue>u) use that u which appears in preterit third-persons forms in the gerund: dormir > durmiendo; morir > muriendo.Those which have the changes e>ie>i [e.g., sentir, siento, sintió] use that i which appears in preterit third-persons forms in the gerund: sentir > sintiendo.Those which have the changes e>i>i [e.g., pedir, pido, pidió] use that i which appears in preterit third-persons forms in the gerund: pedir > pidiendo.
Card Set:
Spanish Tenses
2010-06-21 09:11:03
Spanish Grammer

Present, Past , Imperfect, Gerund, etc.
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