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.

Ustedes llegaron hace dos días.You arrived two days ago.

See also El Pretérito Indefinido

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Examples and resources

Nosotros nos mudamos a Londres en 2012.We moved to London in 2012.
A las 3 en punto sonó el teléfono.At 3 o'clock the phone rang.
El otro día me llamó mi abuela tres veces.The other day my grandma called me three times.
El año pasado Laura dio juguetes a los niños pobres.Last year Laura gave toys to poor children.
Charlamos con los padres de los estudiantes de 5 a 7.We chatted with the student's parent from 5 till 7.
Ayer vi a Daniela en el instituto.Yesterday I saw Daniela at the school.
Ayer fui al cine con Daniel.Yesterday I went to the cinema with Daniel.
El sábado pasado fuimos al restaurante chino nuevo.Last Saturday we went to the new Chinese restaurant.
El verano pasado fuimos a la playa todos los sábados.Last summer we went to the beach every Saturday.
El verano pasado alquilamos una apartamento en la playa.Last summer we rented an apartment at the beach.
El mes pasado los artistas cantaron en Barcelona.Last month the artists sang in Barcelona.
Ustedes llegaron hace dos días.You arrived two days ago.
Me casé en el 2017 y mi hija nació en el 2019.I got married in 2017 and my daughter was born in 2019.
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