the Portuguese past tense

the preterit indicative

In Portuguese, there are several ways to refer to something that happened in the past - each with different shades of meaning. When you choose one Portuguese past tense over another, you're letting people know more about the story you're telling. Talking about the past is always an act of story-telling.

The Preterit Indicative tense is the simplest of these. That's why we like to call it, the Simple Past tense 馃槈 It's like saying,
I bought my own private jet yesterday.

Why isn't that enough to know?

Because Portuguese is a more complicated and precise language. Brazilians will tell you that by comparison, English seems vague and simple. 馃槈

Let's zoom out and look at the different types of the Portuguese past tense:

I bought my own private jet yesterday. » Preterit Indicative

I was buying a private jet yesterday when... » Present Progressive

I would always buy private jets on Tuesdays because... » Imperfect Indicative

If I had bought a private jet yesterday... » Imperfect Subjunctive

Minha Nossa Senhora.

The Preterit (Wikipedia) is the easiest and most common form of the past tense. It's the first one you should learn! And FYI - don't be alarmed at the thought of learning these other complicated-sounding tenses - they're not so scary and everything comes much easier when you have a solid grasp of this main past tense: The Preterit Indicative ("the simple past").


-ar regular verbs
I worked eu trabalh ei
he worked ele trabalh ou
we worked n贸s trabalh 谩mos
they worked eles trabalh aram
O que voc锚 falou para ele? > What did you say to him?
N贸s jogamos v么lei na praia. > We played volleyball on the beach.

-er regular verbs
I ate eu com i
he ate ele com eu
we ate n贸s com emos
they ate eles com eram
Eu bebi聽muito ontem. > I drank a lot yesterday.
Ela n茫o atendeu minha liga莽茫o. > She didn't answer my call.

-ir regular verbs
I聽slept eu聽dorm i
he聽slept ele聽dorm iu
we聽slept n贸s聽dorm imos
they聽slept eles聽dorm iram
Ela descobriu ontem. > She found out (discovered) yesterday.
Voc锚 caiu de bicicleta? > You fell off your bike?
O que voc锚 aprendeu?
Portrait Mode only.