When to Use the Spanish Present Tense and Master Spanish Verb Tenses

When to Use the Spanish Present Tense and Master Spanish Verb Tenses

Let’s discuss when to use the Spanish present tense. In order for you to master Spanish verbs and learn when to use the present tense in the Spanish language, I should tell you about a mistake that it is a VERY common mistake for us (native English speakers) to make when speaking Spanish because we have a tendency to “think” in English.

I am very familiar with this rule of Spanish grammar abogado in spagna because I remember the very first time that I made this mistake.

It was in Nueva York and I was with a native-Spanish speaking friend, who is also a Spanish instructor.
And we went to buy a few things for a party that he was having at his house that night.

And “el piso estaba mojado en el supermercado” (the floor was wet in the supermarket)

I almost slipped and fell on the wet floor and I INCORRECTLY said:

“Casi me resbalé y caí.”
I almost slipped and fell.

And that’s when he explained to me that in Spanish you MUST use the present tense when talking about
an event that “almost” happened. The “abogado” (lawyer) in me insisted on an explanation and wanted to know “por qué?”

His response:

You can only use the preterit tense to talk about an event that actually happened in the past and not
something hypothetical.

My response:

I almost slipped and fell. That was a real event that actually happened in the past. That was not hypothetical. I really almost slipped and fell.

His response:

[Complete Silence]

I guess there are things about any foreign language that will never make sense to people who are not native speakers of that language.

This reminds me of a question a native Spanish speaker asked me when learning English. He asked me “why do you say ‘shut up’ in English? Doesn’t it make more sense to tell someone to ‘shut down’?”

“It only makes more sense to a non-native English speaker,” is what I told him.

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