The narration of past events

For the narration of past events, we can use: the pretĂ©rito imperfecto (past progressive); the pretĂ©rito indefinido (simple past); or the condicional (conditional).

CreĂ­a creer, pret. imperf. que vendrĂ­as venir, condicional a cenar, pero finalmente no viniste venir, pret. indefinido

I thought that you would come for dinner, but in the end you didn't come.

We use the pretérito imperfecto (past progressive):

  • to talk about repeated actions (habits or routines) in an undefined past (we do not know when they end).

Llamaba a mi mamĂĄ todos los dĂ­as llamar, pret. imperf..

I used to call my mother every day.

  • for descriptions in the past.

El hotel era muy antiguo ser, pret. imperf..

The hotel was very old.

  • to describe the circumstances surrounding an action in the past.

Llovía cuando llegué al aeropuerto llover, pret. imperf..

It was raining when I arrived at the airport.

We use the pretérito indefinido (simple past) to:

  • talk about a completed action at a precise moment or time in the past.

Compré un billete para el concierto comprar, pret. indefinido.

I bought a ticket for the concert.

  • describe an action which interrupts another ongoing action or state.

Era pobre hasta que gané la lotería ganar, pret. indefinido.

I was poor until I won the lottery. 

We use the conditional to:

  • talk about future from the perspective of the past.

El periĂłdico decĂ­a que harĂ­a buen tiempo hacer, condicional.

The newspaper said the weather would be nice.

Note: this particular use of the conditional is mainly literary and is only seldom used in speech.

Still facing difficulties with 'The narration of past events'? Learn and enhance your Spanish grammar through our online Spanish course. Start with a free test and improve today!

What our users say:



I enjoy doing my online Spanish lessons. Only ten minutes daily are enough...Thank you!



I love your innovative method which allows me to learn a new language and have fun at the same time!



Your method is unique! Your courses have helped me to progress and gain confidence during my travels.



Gymglish has allowed me to improve my Spanish. A daily routine I wouldn't miss for anything in the world!

More testimonials.

Improve your Spanish further and test Hotel BorbollĂłn, online Spanish lessons.