Forming the progressive preterite tense in Spanish with estar + present participle (El Indefinido Progresivo)

Each Spanish past tense has a continuous (progressive) form to express an action which was ongoing in the past.

Learn about El Indefinido Progresivo in Spanish

In the case of El Indefinido Progresivo, it follows this pattern for most regular verbs:

Estar in El Pretérito Indefinido +

-ando (-AR verbs)

 

-iendo (-ER and -IR verbs)

It is very similar to the English past continuous.

Look at and listen to these examples:

Yo estuve caminando durante 4 horas.I was walking for 4 hours.

Tú estuviste corrigiendo exámenes hasta las diez.You were marking exams until ten.

Ella estuvo bailando con ese chico toda la noche.She was dancing with that guy all night.

Nosotros estuvimos hablando con los periodistas.We were talking to the journalists.

Vosotros estuvisteis merendando en el parque por la tarde.You were having a snack at the park in the afternoon.

Ellos estuvieron arreglando el grifo de la cocina.They were fixing the tap in the kitchen.


ESTAR

Verbs ending in -AR
LLAMAR (to call)

Verbs ending in -ER-IR
APRENDER (to learn)
VIVIR (to live)

estuve

llamando


aprendiendo
viviendo



estuviste

estuvo

estuvimos

estuvisteis

estuvieron

 

See also: Forming the present progressive/continuous in Spanish with estar + present participle (El Presente Progresivo) and Forming the progressive imperfect with estar + present participle (El Imperfecto progresivo/contínuo)).

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Examples and resources

Vosotros estuvisteis merendando en el parque por la tarde.You were having a snack at the park in the afternoon.
Tú estuviste corrigiendo exámenes hasta las diez.You were marking exams until ten.
Ella estuvo bailando con ese chico toda la noche.She was dancing with that guy all night.
Nosotros estuvimos hablando con los periodistas.We were talking to the journalists.
Ellos estuvieron arreglando el grifo de la cocina.They were fixing the tap in the kitchen.
Yo estuve caminando durante 4 horas.I was walking for 4 hours.
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