Family Day Sale
Save 15% on all our monthly plans »

Using ya with the Spanish preterite tense

With the adverb of time ya (already), we use El Pretérito Indefinido.

"Ya" with El Pretérito Indefinido

Read and listen to these examples:

Paulina ya aprendió la lección.Paulina has already learned the lesson.

Ya volví de Grecia.I've already returned from Greece.

Nosotros ya compramos los boletos para el musical.We've already bought the tickets for the musical.

Ustedes ya durmieron lo suficiente por hoy.You've already slept enough for today.

We can place ya either before or after the verb.


Have a look:

Nosotros ya compramos los boletos para el musical.
Nosotros compramos ya los boletos para el musical.
We've already bought the tickets for the musical.

Unlike in European Spanish, in Latin America the adverb "ya" is used with El Pretérito Indefinido because this action is seen as a finished action disconnected from the present.

Something to consider is that the English equivalent may use the perfect tense (I have already done) instead of the preterite (I already did).  English uses the present perfect when there is still a connection to the present (and possibly the future), e.g. "I have been there three times (and I might go again)" vs "I went there three times (and I'll never go back)."

Want to make sure your Spanish sounds confident? We’ll map your knowledge and give you free lessons to focus on your gaps and mistakes. Start your Braimap today »

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Ustedes ya durmieron lo suficiente por hoy.You've already slept enough for today.
Nosotros ya compramos los boletos para el musical.We've already bought the tickets for the musical.
Paulina ya aprendió la lección.Paulina has already learned the lesson.
Ya volví de Grecia.I've already returned from Greece.
Thinking...