Preterite vs Imperfect Quiz (Easy)

Knowing when to use the preterite vs imperfect is key to talking about the past in Spanish. The goal of this quiz is to help you practice preterite and imperfect in real-life situations.

You’ll be given some sentences and two potential answers. Your job is to choose the correct conjugation for each sentence.  If needed, you can use this guide on preterite vs imperfect to check the difference between these tenses.

15 Questions
Multiple Choice

  • 0 Correct
  • 0 Incorrect
/ 15

En 1995, Lucía y yo ______ Argentina.

  1. A visitábamos
  2. B visitamos

Explanation: Unless it’s a recurring action, when talking about traveling in the past you’ll use the preterite tense. In this example, the time marker communicates exactly when this action took place.

Ese día, mis amigos  ______ a desayunar al mercado.

  1. A fueron
  2. B iban

Explanation: Ese día indicates when the action occurred in the past. In this case, we’re talking about a concrete action that my friends did on that date.

De niños, a nosotros _____ mucho los dulces.

  1. A nos gustaron
  2. B nos gustaban

Explanation: Time markers that refer to your childhood are not precise. In other words, they don’t say exactly when an action began or ended. As a result, they’re triggers forto the imperfect tense.

El mercado ____ en el centro de la ciudad.

  1. A estaba
  2. B estuvo

Explanation: This example describes where something was located in the past. Since this is background information, you must use the imperfect tense.

Tú ______ a Juan el año pasado.

  1. A conocías
  2. B conociste

Explanation: ‘El año pasado’ is a specific time marker that triggers the preterite. Meeting Juan is a finished past action, meaning that you cannot change it.

Ustedes ____ todos los lunes.

  1. A estudiaron
  2. B estudiaban

Explanation: Todos los lunes, and similar time markers, refer to habits. In this example, such a habit was ‘studying Spanish’. Since the imperfect tense refers to past habits and routines, you must use estudiaban.

El edificio _____ grande y viejo.

  1. A era
  2. B fue

Explanation: The imperfect tense allows you to provide a description of how things used to be in the past. Because in this example you’re describing how the building was, you need to conjugate the verb in the imperfect tense.

El restaurante _____ muy lleno cuando _____.

  1. A fue / llegamos
  2. B estaba / llegamos

Explanation: The imperfect tense is used when providing background information about the past. In this case, how the restaurant was. The preterite, on the other hand, communicates what happened.

¿Dónde _____ mi teléfono?

  1. A ponías
  2. B pusiste

Explanation: Even though it doesn’t have time markers, this example refers to a one-time past action. If you choose the imperfect tense answer (‘ponías’), you’d imply that this person used to repeatedly misplace your phone over a long period of time.

Mi hermano ______ con Angélica.

  1. A se casaba
  2. B se casó

Explanation: Casarse is a complex action that people do a few times during their lifetime. Since it’s very specific, ‘casarse’ is always conjugated in the preterite tense.

¿Cuántos años _____  Yolanda en 1993?

  1. A tenía
  2. B tuvo

Explanation: In Spanish, we always use the imperfect tense to talk about age.

Hace dos años ____ a Vancouver. La ciudad ____ muy bonita.

  1. A iba / era
  2. B fui / era

Explanation: Hace dos años is a concise time marker, as a result, it must be followed by the preterite tense. On the other hand, the imperfect provides details about that past action. In this situation, it describes how the city was.

Mi abuelo siempre me ____ que tenía que estudiar.

  1. A decía
  2. B dijo

Explanation: Siempre is one of the time markers that triggers the imperfect in Spanish. Decía implies that your grandpa used to give you this advice all the time.

¿A qué hora ____ el paquete?

  1. A llegaba
  2. B llegó

Explanation: Llegó implies that this action (the arrival of the package) is a one-time action that is completed in the past. Choosing the imperfect tense would have implied that you received the same package on a regular basis.

Cuando eras niña, no _____ esa película.

  1. A te gustaba
  2. B te gustó

Explanation: Time markers that talk about your childhood trigger the imperfect tense because they do not have a specific ending or beginning. As a result, in this example, te gustaba is the right answer.

Quiz Results

Question Answer Given Correct Answer
En 1995, Lucía y yo ______ Argentina.
Ese día, mis amigos  ______ a desayunar al mercado.
De niños, a nosotros _____ mucho los dulces.
El mercado ____ en el centro de la ciudad.
Tú ______ a Juan el año pasado.
Ustedes ____ todos los lunes.
El edificio _____ grande y viejo.
El restaurante _____ muy lleno cuando _____.
¿Dónde _____ mi teléfono?
Mi hermano ______ con Angélica.
¿Cuántos años _____  Yolanda en 1993?
Hace dos años ____ a Vancouver. La ciudad ____ muy bonita.
Mi abuelo siempre me ____ que tenía que estudiar.
¿A qué hora ____ el paquete?
Cuando eras niña, no _____ esa película.

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