We are going to switch gears to start to learn how to talk about the past; we will discuss the two main verbs tenses used to talk about past events, el pretérito and el imperfecto over the remaining units. First, is the preterite tense.
Because the past tenses can be challenging in understanding when and how to use them, we are going to focus on using only the first person (“yo” and “nosotros”). We will get very familiar with these two subjects, then add the rest in Unit 7.
¿Cuándo se usa el pretérito?
The preterite tense is used to express actions or states completed in the past. You can use it to say what happened (que pasó) or what occurred (que ocurrió); it is not used to describe (people or moments) in the past. The preterite past tense represents an action that happens at a specific point on a timeline (for example: yesterday) and that action is finished. We always use the preterite when we list a series of consecutive (in order) actions.
For “yo” and “nosotros” we use the following verb endings:
  -ar verbs -er/ir verbs
Yo é
yo hablé
yo comí
Nosotros/nosotras amos
Miramos unos ejemplos del pretérito (sólo con “yo” y “nosotros”):
 1. Yo subí las fotos al internet.  
 2. Nosotros aprendimos sobre el pretérito el curso.  
 3. Yo tomé una autofoto.  
 4. Nosotros grabamos un video para la clase de español.  
 5. Ayer, yo escuché música de Los Rakas.  
Notice, for “nosotros”, the conjugation -amos is the same in present as in past. The only difference between the present and the preterite is for -er verbs; it changes from an -emos ending (present), to -imos (preterite).
OJO: Remember, when you see an accent - that is where you put the emphasis when you are speaking in Spanish. All of our regular “yo” forms in the preterite have an accent. Listen carefully to the pronunciation in the example sentences.
  1. Mandé un correo eléctronico.
  2. Aprendí sobre los incas de Perú.
  3. Asistí a la fiesta de cumpleaños de David.