Mastering the preterite vs. imperfect is extremely difficult.
Being able to narrate in the past is a major feature of the Advanced/C range of language proficiency in any language.
While knowing your verb conjugations is an important part of mastering the preterite vs. imperfect, it is far from everything.
We tend to start learning verb conjugations early on in our journey. However, it is imperative that you get a great deal of input in Spanish. Watch tv shows, Youtube, movies. Read novels, books, magazines, blogs and stories.
Learning languages involves the deliberate activities we do. Think verb conjugations, vocabulary, grammar, etc.
Language acquisition is how you picked up your first language – naturally through meaningful content and interactions.
Dr. Stephen Krashen talks about this in his theory of Second Language Acquisition.
It is my opinion that using these two concepts together is the perfect marriage. Spend time acquiring and invest time in deliberate learning to make fast progress and master the preterite vs. imperfect.
Use these prompts for journals, quick writes or homework to master talking about things that have happened in the past. The lower you go on the list, the more advanced the task. Practice makes perfect.
Talk about where you went yesterday.
Talk about where you went last weekend.
Talk about where you went last summer.
Talk about what you did this morning.
Talk about what you did last night.
Talk about what you did last week.
Talk about what you did last summer.
Talk about what you ate last night.
Talk about what you ate last week.
Talk about what you ate on your last vacation.
Talk about an exciting vacation you took.
Talk about the best meal you ever had.
Talk about a great holiday meal you have had.
Talk about a great celebration you have experienced.
Talk about a meal you had while camping.
Talk about a meal you had outdoors (i.e. a picnic or a barbecue).
Describe an experience in a restaurant.
Talk about your life when you were a young child.
Talk about the games and activities you used to like as a child.
Describe a time you were in an airport.
Describe in detail a trip you took. Include the hotel room and the surrounding area.
Talk about a time you went to a museum.
Describe a time you went to a concert. Give as much detail as possible.
Talk about a time you went shopping. Provide as many details as possible about the day. Include what you were wearing, where you went, what you bought and how you felt.
Talk about a movie you have seen.
Talk about something you heard on the news recently.
Talk about a reality program you have seen.
Talk about a time you went shopping.
Say ten things you did yesterday.
Tell the plot of your favorite book.
Tell the plot of your favorite movie.
Tell your favorite children’s story.
Describe an event that happened in your community.
Describe a sports event you saw or participated in.
Describe a time you went to a theater.
Talk about a time you felt unhappy in nature.
Describe the plot of a play you have seen.
Write a critique of a play or movie you have seen.
Retell your favorite fairy tale.
Retell a story from your childhood.
Talk about a time that you were sick.
Describe a time when someone else was sick.
Talk about when you learned how to drive. What was the best part? What was the worst part? Talk about jobs that you have done in the past.
Describe someone important from history. Explain who they are and what they did.
Describe a time technology didn’t work and it caused you a problem.
Describe your life in the past year in as much detail as possible.
Describe your life over the past two months in as much detail as possible.
Talk about an extremely interesting and/or educational experience you had.
Talk about a time when you felt happy in nature.
Describe a time you felt great playing a sport.
Describe a time you felt terrible playing a sport.
Describe a time you won an event.
Describe a time you lost an event.
Talk about a time you fought with a friend. What happened? How did you feel? Were things eventually resolved?
Describe a time when two people close to you fought. Did either of them seek your advice? If so, what did you tell them?
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