Using El Preterito Indefinido for completed actions in the past

We use El Pretérito Indefinido for completed actions in the past.

It can refer to a single action or actions that happened more than once.

Nosotros nos mudamos a Londres en 2012.
We moved to London in 2012.

The example above shows a single action that takes place in the past.

El verano pasado fuimos a la playa todos los sábados.
Last summer we went to the beach every Saturday.

The example above shows an action that took place several times in the past.

But in both examples the actions are completed. They are no longer taking place. 

There are some time phrases that will generally trigger the use of El Pretérito Indefinido

Here are some:

  • El año pasado
  • El otro día
  • Ayer
  • Anoche
  • El mes pasado
  • Hace 3 días
  • El verano pasado
Read and listen to these other examples:

Ayer fui al cine con Daniel.
Yesterday I went to the cinema with Daniel.

El año pasado Laura dio juguetes a los niños pobres.
Last year Laura gave toys to poor children.

El mes pasado los artistas cantaron en Barcelona.
Last month the artists sang in Barcelona.

See also El Pretérito Indefinido

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Ayer fui al cine con Daniel.
Yesterday I went to the cinema with Daniel.


El verano pasado fuimos a la playa todos los sábados.
Last summer we went to the beach every Saturday.


El mes pasado los artistas cantaron en Barcelona.
Last month the artists sang in Barcelona.


Nosotros nos mudamos a Londres en 2012.
We moved to London in 2012.


El año pasado Laura dio juguetes a los niños pobres.
Last year Laura gave toys to poor children.


Q&A

Wyq

Kwiziq community member

15 October 2018

1 reply

Hace cinco años tú ________ en Italia.

It seems to me that "vivías" should also be a correct answer here...

Inma

Kwiziq language super star

16 October 2018

16/10/18

Hola Wyq

You are right. Vivías could also be correct here if you consider it an ongoing action. We will add a hint so it is clear we refer to a completed action in the past, to avoid confusion.

Gracias

Inma

Getting that for you now.