Unit 2 - Preterit Tense - Regular Forms
Lesson 2.3 - Preterite Tense: Regular -er and -ir Verbs
Topic:

Regular preterite tense -er and -ir verbs share the same endings. Learn them here.

Two for the Price of One

In this lesson we get a bit of good news. In the preterite tense, -er verbs and -ir verbs share exactly the same endings, so there is one less group of endings to memorize.

Hopefully you are also starting to see some patterns in the conjugations that make them easier to remember. We still have a long way to go, but this is the last of what I consider the difficult groups of verb endings. So keep the faith!

Regular Preterite Conjugations of -er and -ir Verbs

Let's begin with the verb aprender Play Audio , which means to learn. Here is the full conjugation in the simple past tense.

Preterite Conjugation of aprender

Subject
Ending
Verb Form
Subject
Ending
Verb Form
Yo
Play Audio
aprendí
Nosotros
-imos
Play Audio
aprendimos
-iste
Play Audio
aprendiste
Vosotros
-isteis
Play Audio
aprendisteis
Él/Ella
-ió
Play Audio
aprendió
Ellos
-ieron
Play Audio
aprendieron


Verb Ending Details

The verb endings here follow a similar pattern to those in the previous lesson for -ar verbs, but there are a few key differences.

To begin with, examine the Yo form, where the ending is instead of . The form for I learned is aprendí, with the accented at the end. Play Audio

Also look at the Él / Ella / Usted third person form, where the ending is -ió.

So to say He learned we don't say Él aprendó, but instead Él aprendió Play Audio . That pronunciation is ah-pren-DYO.

An Example Sentence

Using the conjugations above, how would you say Where did you learn to speak Spanish?

¿Dónde aprendiste a hablar español? Play Audio

Now for an -ir Verb

Escribir Play Audio is an -ir verb that means to write. In the preterite tense, the endings are exactly the same as for the -er verbs.


Preterite Conjugation of escribir

Subject
Ending
Verb Form
Subject
Ending
Verb Form
Yo
Play Audio
escribí
Nosotros
-imos
Play Audio
escribimos
-iste
Play Audio
escribiste
Vosotros
-isteis
Play Audio
escribisteis
Él/Ella
-ió
Play Audio
escribió
Ellos
-ieron
Play Audio
escribieron


As usual, you will find several detailed demonstrations of the concept among the outside resources listed below. If you have any doubts about this verb form, take a look at those sources for more details.

Once you are ready, head to the exercises for plenty of practice with the new forms.


Additional Study Resources

Videos:
Clear and easy step-by-step guide to conjugation of -er verbs in the preterite. (3:09)
Another explanation of -er and -ir conjugations. (5:25)
Gringo Español illustrates the -er and -ir preterite conjugations. (8:43)
Websites:
Shows conjugation of -ar, -er, and -ir in the preterite.
Shows all three verb types. Focus on the section on regular conjugation for now.
Books:
4th edition, Chapter 4, page 110, "Regular verbs in the preterite"
;