When do we use the Pretérito perfecto or indefinido in Spanish?

One of the common mistakes made by students is the difference between the Pretérito Perfecto and the Indefinido. We will show you how to use both tenses.

PRETÉRITO PERFECTO

We use the“Pretérito Perfecto” when we are talking about actions or things that are related to the present: the day, the week, the month, Christmas. For example: For example:

He trabajado mucho esta semana / I have worked a lot this week.

“Esta semana”, todavía no ha acabado la semana (the week is not over yet).

PRETÉRITO INDEFINIDO

We use the “Indefinido” when we are not talking about actions or things that are related to the present: one day, one week, one month, one Christmas, in 1984, that one time, yesterday. (The information is not related to the present. It is terminated)

When do we use the Pretérito perfecto or indefinido in Spanish? 1
Spanish lessons, pretérito indefinido

The common signal words that indicate the “Pretérito Perfecto” are:

  • Hoy.
  • A las 4, a las 6.
  • Esta mañana, Esta tarde, Esta semana.
  • Este mes, Este año.
  • Este invierno, Este otoño.
  • Todavía no, aun no, ya.
  • Hasta ahora.
  • En mi vida.
  • Nunca.
  • Por fin.
  • Siempre.
  • ¿Alguna vez? / ¿Cuántas veces?

The common signal words that indicate the “Indefinido” are:

  • Ayer, Anteayer.
  • El otro día.
  • Anoche, Anteanoche.
  • La semana pasada.
  • El mes, el año pasado.
  • En + año/mes.
  • Hace+ cantidad de tiempo + que + indefinido.

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