AP Spanish : Preterite / El Pretérito

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Spanish

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Preterite / El Pretérito

Which is the correct verb form?

Estaba andando en el parque cuando, de repente, un ciervo me __________.

Possible Answers:

sorprendía

sorprendido

sorprendió

sorprenderá

Correct answer:

sorprendió

Explanation:

This sentence expresses the completed action of the deer surprising me in the park, thus the preterite tense is the only correct response.

Example Question #2 : Preterite / El Pretérito

Which verb form is correct in context?

Estaba andando en la calle cuando, de repente, un ladrón __________ robarme. 

Possible Answers:

intenté 

intentaban

intentó

intentaba

Correct answer:

intentó

Explanation:

An interrupted action sequence requires the imperfect tense for the interrupted action and the preterite tense for the interrupting action, in this case, "intentó." The other verbs either do not agree in tense or in number with "un ladrón."

English translation: "I was walking in the street when, all of a sudden, a thief tried to rob me."

Example Question #3 : Preterite / El Pretérito

Which verb form properly completes the sentence?

__________ cerca de la orilla del rio cuando, de repente, vi un pez.

Possible Answers:

Anduve

Andé

Andaba

Andaré

Correct answer:

Andaba

Explanation:

The first verb conveys an action that is interrupted, so it needs to be in the imperfect tense. Only "Andaba" is the first person imperfect form of "andar" (to walk). 

English translation: "I was walking near the bank of the river when, all of a sudden, I saw a fish."

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