Ask a Question

(Create a thread)
Go Back   Spanish language learning forums > Spanish & English Languages > Grammar


Past tense?

 

This is the place for questions about conjugations, verb tenses, adverbs, adjectives, word order, syntax and other grammar questions for English or Spanish.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old July 16, 2011, 12:28 PM
JazzHeart's Avatar
JazzHeart JazzHeart is offline
Opal
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 27
Native Language: English
JazzHeart is on a distinguished road
Past tense?

One thing I seem to really be struggling with is putting things into past tense. Would someone be able to explain it to me, or point me in the direction of a chart I could copy down?

Where I would use "-ing" and "-d", how do I change them in spanish?
Examples:

Reply-replied
Answer-answered
Tell-told
smell-smelled

Run-running
Scream-screaming
Reply With Quote
   
Get rid of these ads by registering for a free Tomísimo account.
  #2  
Old July 16, 2011, 01:06 PM
aleCcowaN's Avatar
aleCcowaN aleCcowaN is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Posts: 3,127
Native Language: Castellano
aleCcowaN is on a distinguished road
Shall you write in Spanish some examples using present tense? Then we'll be able to tell you how to say the same using some of the past tenses.
__________________
[gone]
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old July 16, 2011, 03:44 PM
Rusty's Avatar
Rusty Rusty is offline
Señor Speedy
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 10,623
Native Language: American English
Rusty has a spectacular aura aboutRusty has a spectacular aura about
Quote:
Originally Posted by aleCcowaN View Post
Would you write in Spanish some examples using present tense? Then we'll be able to tell you how to say the same using some of the past tenses.
JazzHeart, this is a very LARGE topic. There is no easy one-ending-fits-all answer.
Spanish has two past tenses. The preterite tense has many irregular verbs (which shouldn't surprise you, since the present tense has many irregular verbs, as well). The imperfect tense has only three irregular verbs. Learning when to use the two different past tenses will take some time.

Adding -ing to a verb can be a very LARGE topic, as well. First, you need to make absolute certain that you understand the difference between a verb that ends in -ing and a noun that ends -ing. The latter is called a gerund in English. It looks like a verb, but it functions as a noun. For example, in the sentence 'Reading is fun,' the word 'reading' is a noun.
The Spanish equivalent is the infinitive - leer.

The Spanish infinitive correr (run) needs to be conjugated to use it as a verb. For example, the English sentence 'We run' is '(nosotros) corremos' in Spanish. The verb ending conveys the person, so the subject pronoun doesn't need to be said (that's why I enclosed it in parentheses). The Spanish sentence 'Corremos' also means 'We are running'. In English, we make a distinction between 'we run' and 'we are running', but this isn't the case in Spanish. The simple present tense can be used to mean both things.

That said, there is a progressive, or continuous, tense in Spanish that involves a conjugated form of 'estar', followed by a gerundio (this is called the present participle in English). In the progressive tense, 'We are running' is conjugated as 'estamos corriendo'. This tense is only used when you are in the very act of doing something. If someone asks you what you're doing while you're out for a morning run, you could say 'estoy corriendo'. Formation of the gerundio is mostly straight forward - the '-ar' verb ending is dropped and '-ando' is substituted; the '-er' and '-ir' verb endings are substituted with '-iendo'. There are some irregular formations.
Do not overuse the progressive tense.

These explanations don't even scratch the surface, but I hope they helped a little.
The verb conjugation charts you're looking for are found in the upper left-hand side of each page. Select 'conjugations' instead of 'dictionary' and type in the infinitive you want to see conjugated.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old August 01, 2011, 11:04 PM
SPX SPX is offline
Pearl
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 166
SPX is on a distinguished road
Speaking of gerunds, this brings up something I myself have been curious about. . .

I was reading in a grammar guide recently and they used the example:

"Me afeito" for "I am shaving."

First off, why is this not "Estoy afeitando"?

Second, why is it Me Afeito and not Yo Afeito? (Or, that is, simply Afeito.)


Signed,

Totally Confused
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old August 02, 2011, 04:53 AM
Perikles's Avatar
Perikles Perikles is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Tenerife
Posts: 4,814
Native Language: Inglés
Perikles is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by SPX View Post
Speaking of gerunds, this brings up something I myself have been curious about. . .

I was reading in a grammar guide recently and they used the example:

"Me afeito" for "I am shaving."

First off, why is this not "Estoy afeitando"?

Second, why is it Me Afeito and not Yo Afeito? (Or, that is, simply Afeito.)


Signed,

Totally Confused
I like the signature, because your question has nothing to do with gerunds.

First point:
1). I am shaving - shaving is a present participle, an adjective, part of the continuous verb form in English. (This is made confusing by the fact that it is called gerundio in Spanish)
2) Shaving is tedious - shaving is a gerund, a noun, an abstract concept derived from the verb. It has the same form as the present participle, so often confused with it.

Second point:
English I am shaving is really short for I am shaving myself, unless something else is added like I am shaving the dog.
Spanish always says whom you are shaving: Me afeito, literally, I am shaving myself

Third point:
Spanish does not use this continuous form with the present participle as much as English does. So Spanish "Me afeito" literally I shave myself often means English I am shaving myself

Fourth point
The Spanish verb ending tells you who is doing it, so you don't need the personal pronoun "I". That is needed in English because the verb ending gives you no information.

Does that help?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old August 02, 2011, 05:34 AM
languagelover languagelover is offline
Opal
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 23
Native Language: UK English/Spain Spanish
languagelover is on a distinguished road
Spanish past tenses are indeed very difficult to master by native English speakers, as there is no direct equivalent to the two separate past tenses in English. You either have to learn the rules and practice or spend enough time around Spanish speakers to learn what sounds right and what doesn't.

As previous respondees have pointed out, it is often not possible to simply translate word for word from English because, in Spanish, sentences are structured differently. And the same goes for verb tenses.

Last edited by AngelicaDeAlquezar; August 02, 2011 at 08:18 AM. Reason: Removed link
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old August 02, 2011, 10:39 AM
SPX SPX is offline
Pearl
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 166
SPX is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
Does that help?
Yes, that's helpful. Thanks.

So if "afeito" can be used for I'm shaving, what about. . .

I'm reading. . .? Or I'm walking. . .?

Consider: "I'm walking to the store." Estoy caminando a la tienda. Would it still be correct to say, "Camino a la tienda"? If not, why not?
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old August 02, 2011, 11:53 AM
Perikles's Avatar
Perikles Perikles is offline
Diamond
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Tenerife
Posts: 4,814
Native Language: Inglés
Perikles is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by SPX View Post
So if "afeito" can be used for I'm shaving, what about. . .

I'm reading. . .? Or I'm walking. . .?

Consider: "I'm walking to the store." Estoy caminando a la tienda. Would it still be correct to say, "Camino a la tienda"? If not, why not?
Best let someone expert answer this question more specifically - the differences are subtle (that's my code, meaning I'm not quite sure )
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old August 02, 2011, 11:59 AM
wrholt's Avatar
wrholt wrholt is offline
Sapphire
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 1,324
Native Language: US English
wrholt is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by SPX View Post
Yes, that's helpful. Thanks.

So if "afeito" can be used for I'm shaving, what about. . .

I'm reading. . .? Or I'm walking. . .?

Consider: "I'm walking to the store." Estoy caminando a la tienda. Would it still be correct to say, "Camino a la tienda"? If not, why not?
Yes, but...

In English, we use "to be X-ing" in more than one way:

1. What are you doing right now? I'm walking to the store.
2. What are you doing tomorrow? I'm walking to the store

In Spanish:

1. ¿Qué haces/estás haciendo? Camino/estoy caminando a la tienda.
2. ¿Qué haces mañana? Camino a la tienda.

The first one is about what is happening right now. In this context one can use either the continuous or the simple present. In some contexts using the simple present is ambiguous and one normally chooses the continuous when one wants to be clear about the action happening right now.

The second one is about a future event, something that isn't right now. Here the continuous in English or the simple present in Spanish functions as an alternative to the future (What will you do tomorrow? I will go to the store. = ¿Qué harás (or vas a hacer) mañana? Iré (or voy a ir) a la tienda.) In this context in English the simple present is forbidden as an alternative to the future, but in Spanish only the simple present is permitted and the continuous is forbidden.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old August 02, 2011, 12:08 PM
SPX SPX is offline
Pearl
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 166
SPX is on a distinguished road
Okay, that's very helpful.

So what if I wanted to say, "I'm writing a book" in the sense that it's something that I'm doing in my life, not something that I'm doing right at that instant?

Would it just be, "Escribo un libro"?
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmark this thread at:

 

Link to this thread
URL: 
HTML Link: 
BB Code: 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Site Rules

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Now tense er, ar , ir verbs bahamas Grammar 4 December 08, 2010 08:34 PM
In the past? tkorbitz Grammar 3 June 04, 2010 05:18 PM
Which tense follows "si" in present, past, etc. rkeyster Grammar 13 September 29, 2009 11:51 AM
Commands given in past tense rkeyster Grammar 16 September 24, 2009 08:05 PM
Conditonal tense with conjecture regarding the past cmon Practice & Homework 6 May 05, 2009 06:23 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:38 PM.

Forum powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

X