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 😉 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. 😉
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").
|I worked||eu trabalh||ei|
|he worked||ele trabalh||ou|
|we worked||nós trabalh||ámos|
|they worked||eles trabalh||aram|
|I ate||eu com||i|
|he ate||ele com||eu|
|we ate||nós com||emos|
|they ate||eles com||eram|
|I slept||eu dorm||i|
|he slept||ele dorm||iu|
|we slept||nós dorm||imos|
|they slept||eles dorm||iram|