15 you need to know
Once you've gotten comfortable conjugating verbs in the present tense, the next tense to know is called the Preterite. It's officially referred to as the preterite perfect, indicative mood. That's what a linguist would call it. It's commonly known as the simple past. By now you've come to realize that there nothing is very simple about the past tense in Portuguese, but this tense is clear: we're talking about action that is over and done.
Just remember that: over & done.
Yesterday, I had dinner with my girlfriend.
We went to the movies.
I kissed her.
She liked it.
Over & done. Simple.
Let's review the conjugation:
-ar regular verbs
|I worked||eu trabalh||ei|
|he worked||ele trabalh||ou|
|we worked||nós trabalh||amos|
|they worked||eles trabalh||aram|
Nice and consistent.
There are several irregulars you need to know.
Chegar is only irregular in the first person, singular: cheguei (pronounced shə-gaā)
Don't be tricked by the "u". It does nothing to affect the pronunciation.
Dar is hopelessly irregular. In the preterite it almost gets conjugated as if it were an er verb.
você ele, ela deu
vocês, eles, elas deram
Here's our list of the top 20. While not all of them are essential for survival Portuguese, they are all ar-verbs that you will hear all the time in Brazil.
From the learning series, INTENSIVO: