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The preterite of regular -ar verbs

To form the preterite of -ar verbs, replace the final -ar with the following endings (for our example, we'll use the verb tomar, to take, drink):

I took
you took
él / ellatomó
he/she took
nosotros, -as-amostomamos
we took
vosotros, -as-asteistomasteis
you took
ellos / ellas-arontomaron
they took

Spelling rule for verbs ending in -gar, -car and -zar

When you remove the -ar from a verb such as llegar, jugar, you end up with a stem (lleg-, jug-) ending in g. As you might expect, when is added to this stem, an extra u is inserted in the spelling: llegué, jugué. (Recall that a g before a e or i normally represents the same sound as j in Spanish.)

Similarly, to preserve its sound, the c of verbs such as buscar changes to qu before the preterite ending : (yo) busqué.

In verbs ending in -zar such as empezar, the z also changes to c before the ending ((yo) empecé).

Practise the preterite of -ar verbs

Fill in the grid below with the appropriate preterite form. Click on the vocab button to the left of the grid to see the list of verbs expected.


On the next page, we move on to look at the preterite of -er and -ir verbs.

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