Hello! In this lesson, you are going to see the diference between the perfect and the imperfect past tenses. This will help you understand the videos, since they appear a lot in them.

We are going to be taking a look at this paragraph from our last lesson.

Eu decidi sair. Nessa mesma época que eu saí, eu descobri um site chamado 9GAG e não tem nada a ver com inglês, ele era só um site de memes em inglês.

E aí, todos os dias a primeira coisa que eu fazia quando eu começava a usar o computador, era abrir o 9gag e ver todos os memes e ler os comentários de todos os memes. E eu fazia isso todos os dias.

So I decided to leave. At the same time I left, I discovered a site called 9GAG. And it has nothing to do with English, it was just a memes site in English.

And then, every day the first thing I did when I started using the computer, was to open 9gag and look and see all the memes and read the comments of all the memes. And I did this every day.

Some notes first…

[1] The names of the verb tenses can be misleading. “Pretérito Perfeito” is much more similar to “Simple Past”.

[2] You probably noticed that both tenses translate the same into English, because English does not have imperfect tenses.

[3] “Pretérito” is only a very fancy word for past. Mostly found in grammars.

Easier first: Pretérito Perfeito

It’s used to talk about one time finished events. There’s no need to get more complicated than that at this point. Let’s see some examples

Eu decidi sair. Nessa mesma época que eu saí, eu descobri um site chamado 9GAG e não tem nada a ver com inglês, ele era só um site de memes em inglês.

[1] I decided to leave
[2] I left
[3] I discovered

Eu combinei essas duas coisas e comecei a estudar italiano. E aí, depois eu encontrei também podcast em italiano com transcrição, eu comecei a escutar e ler isso também.

[1] I combined
[2] I started to study
[3] I found
[4] I started to listen

In today’s learning session, we are going to be practicing this tense. You can jump right into it if you want to.

Past Imperfect

[1] Can be used to talk about how things used to be (used to);

Eu gostava muito de jogos de computador

[1] I used to like computer games a lot
[2] I really liked computer games

Eu também pensava muito em inglês, eu conversava muito sozinho comigo mesmo em inglês.

[1] I also used to talk with myself in English a lot
[2] I also used to think a lot in English, I used to talk a lot to myself in English.
[2] It is used when you are telling a story in the past. When you set a scene and describe what was going on there. Since we don’t have this tense in English, I’m going to show them in contrast.


Situation: I was talking about how I learned English when I was a teenager.

Eu gostava muito do vídeo em si então para mim não era muito importante entender tudo que a pessoa estava falando, então eu assistia o vídeo de qualquer forma.


Situation: I watched one video once and I’m talking about it.

Eu gostei muito do vídeo em si então para mim não foi muito importante entender tudo que a pessoa falou, então eu assisti o vídeo de qualquer forma.

Both translate into: I really liked the video itself so for me it wasn’t very important to understand everything that the person was talking about, so I watched the video anyway.

Don’t worry if this seems to hard for you right now. The goal of this lesson was to make you aware that this difference exists. And now you are aware!

Just pay attention to the verb endings that point out to each one of these tenses until you get the hang of it.

Before showing you them, you need to learn the personal pronouns. There are some important details you should know about.


A gente*we
Vocêsyou all
Vós*you all
Elesthey (masculine)
Elasthey (feminine)

 01  The pronoun “você” means “you” and it’s more commonly used than “tu”. “Tu” means the same, but it is only used in certain regions and uses a different conjugation pattern. To make it even more confusing, there are some regions that use tu, but conjugate it as if it were você. Conclusion: using “você is your best bet.
 02  “Vós” is obsolete and not used anymore in Brazilian Portuguese. You will only find it in old literature or sometimes in legal texts. You can ignore it safely.
 03  “A gente” is a special pronoun only used in speaking that means “we”. You hear it more than “nós”, although it’s perfectly fine to use both. 

Pretérito Perfeito

We strongly advise against trying to memorize this conjugation table. It’s meant to help you notice the patterns more quickly.

(to speak)
(to eat)
( to watch)
A gente*faloucomeuassistiu

 01  Tu” is only used in a few regions and “você” is universally understood, so you can safely skip it. 
 02  A gente” is the informal way of saying “nós”. It’s more often used in spoken language than “nós”, but it shouldn’t be used in formal writing.
 03  Nós” uses the exact same conjugation for the present tense here.
 04  It may seem a lot at first glance, but it’s not. You only have three patterns to learn: falei, falou, falaram. You’ll notice that the verbs with -er and -ir have a very similar ending pattern, which is predictable.

Pretérito Imperfeito

A gente*falavacomiaassistia


Now it’s time to practice!

You are going to watch a video where I talk about how was my day. Pay special attention to how I use verbs in the past. I will be using mostly the pretérito perfeito this time.

Keep an eye for expressions and action verbs that you can use to talk about your own day.

Oh, almost forgot! I’m also adding a bit of every day culture in today’s lesson.

Ever wondered how a Brazilian breakfast looks like or what a tapioca is? You’ll see in a second.