The preterite (simple past) in Spanish
The term preterite is sometimes used to refer to 'simple past' verb forms, such as English took, stole, ran, arrived etc. Contrast these simple past tense forms with other past forms that require multiple words, such as was running, had been taking, had arrived etc.
If you speak certain other languages such as French, you may expect the perfect tense in Spanish to cover meanings such as took. Unfortunately, it generally doesn't. Instead, Spanish makes a very similar distinction to English between took (preterite) and have taken (perfect). This is unfortunate for the learner because the Spanish preterite generally has more irregularities than other tenses.
To start with, we'll look at and practise the preterite of regular -ar verbs. Other topics to be covered later are: