Spanish Preterite Short Verbs: DAR, VER, IR and SER

Now, for some simpler rules. With short verbs like dar and ver, the only irregularity in the preterite is one that you’ll find easy to accomplish: just forget to put the accent marks in! Because the words are so short, the stress falls naturally on the right syllable.

Subject
Dar (to give)
Ver (to see)
Download
yo
di
vi
Download
diste
viste
Download
Ud., él, ella
dio
vio
Download
nosotros/as
dimos
vimos
Download
vosotros/as
disteis
visteis
Download
Uds., ellos, ellas
dieron
vieron

Por ejemplo:

Identical Twins: IR and SER

Download
Yo no le di la plata a él.
I didn’t give him the money.
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Usted le dio la manzana a la chica.
You gave the apple to the girl.
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Nosotros le dimos cincuenta pesos al conductor.
We gave the driver fifty pesos.

One of the strangest things to happen to Spanish verbs is to take on the exact same irregular preterite form, and this happens with the very common verbs ir and ser. Who knows why these two verbs evolved over the course of time to have the same preterite past tense form, but they do make life complicated if you’re unfamiliar with them.

Study the chart below:

Subject
IR (to go)
SER (to be: permanent)
Download
yo
fui
fui
Download
fuiste
fuiste
Download
Ud., él, ella
fue
fue
Download
nosotros/as
fuimos
fuimos
Download
vosotros/as
fuisteis
fuisteis
Download
Uds., ellos, ellas
fueron
fueron
 
 
 

Going or Being? The Problem with FUI

Now that you’ve memorized the verb forms for ir and ser, you may be wondering how in the world you will ever know whether a sentence with the word fui means “I went” or “I was.”

Quite simply, by context! You’ll have to figure out which verb is meant by the rest of the words in the sentence. It’s not as hard as it sounds. See if you can guess the meaning of the verbs in the examples below:

1. Nosotros fuimos a la piscina la semana pasada.

2. Ayer fue un día muy aburrido.

3. Tú fuiste la persona que me robó.

Answers:

1. We went to the pool last week.

ir

2. Yesterday was a very boring day.

ser

3. You were the person who robbed me.

ser

In the next section the confustion begins when you'll learn that the complications never end with the Spanish preterite tense, you'll discover Verbs that Say One Thing and Mean Something Else

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