Grammar Guide
Verbs
Spanish Preterite Progressive Tense

Spanish Preterite Progressive Tense

Quick Answer

In Spanish, the preterite progressive tense, also called the preterite continuous tense, is used to talk about something that was going on at some point in the past.

Hoy me estuve muriendo de frío.
I was freezing cold today.

How to Form the Preterite Progressive

The preterite progressive is formed using the verb estar (to be) in the preterite, plus a present participle.

Preterite Progressive Formula

estar in preterite + present participle

Let's review the conjugation of estar in the preterite and the formation of present participles!

Estar in the Preterite

SubjectSpanishEnglish
yo
estuve
I was
estuviste
you were
él, ella, usted
estuvo
he/she was; you were
nosotros
estuvimos
we were
vosotros
estuvisteis
you were
ellos, ellas, ustedes
estuvieron
they were; you were

Forming Present Participles

Regular present participles are formed as follows:

Present Participle of -ar verb

verb stem + -ando

(Example: hablando)

Present Participle of -er or -ir verb

verb stem + -iendo

(Examples: escribiendo, comiendo)

Learn more about regular and irregular present participles here!

Examples of the Preterite Progressive

Now that you know how to form the preterite progressive, check out these examples of the preterite progressive tense in Spanish.

Estuvimos estudiando todo el fin de semana.
We were studying all weekend.
¿Por cuánto tiempo estuviste caminando?
For how long were you walking?
Ese perro estuvo durmiendo tres días debajo de nuestro porche.
That dog was sleeping under our porch for three days.

Feeling progressive! Check out our articles on these other progressive tenses in Spanish!