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Learn encontrar conjugation in Pretérito

encontrar means: to find, to encounter
Click to see all conjugation charts of encontrar in every tense

In this conjugation lesson we will see how to inflect the verb encontrar in the Pretérito tense of the Indicativo mood. It means we will see step by step how to create and translate forms of each grammatical person.

This lesson is specifically about the encontrar conjugation. For an overview of all the Simple Tenses conjugation check our Simple Tenses Conjugation Chart.

We also have a Video Presentation on how to conjugate verbs in Pretérito. It’s embedded below, but using the above link you may get more detailed information on conjugation in this tense as well as explanation of special cases and exceptions.

How to translate Pretérito to English

Note that the phrases in English provided below next to each conjugation are not direct translations from Spanish to English. They are usually the closest general equivalents. The example differences are:
  • In Spanish conjugation, there is the form usted in the third person singular. But this person does not translate to the English third person singular. It translates to the so called formal you and uses the inflected form which is most often represented as he/she/it in English conjugation charts.
  • Similar situation happens in the third person plural, where ustedes translates to the English plural formal you but uses the form which corresponds to the they form in English.
  • Tenses are used differently in Spanish and English, so the actual translation should always take into account the context and focus on translating the meaning, not just words.
  • In both languages each verb may have multiple meanings and not every meaning translates directly to the other language. Here also, the context and focusing on the particular meaning helps to create the most accurate translation.


Note the timeline

The ability to accurately locate the desired position on the timeline is an important skill for proper use of tenses. So pay attention to the timeline in our lessons and visualize it while listening, speaking, reading or writing. After a bit practice you’ll be able to select the right tense to use much easier.timeline preterito perfecto simple how to conjugate spanish verbs

Step by step instructions

Pretérito belongs to the simple tenses group, which means that all of its inflected forms are one word long. There are also compound (compuesto) tenses in Spanish language, where each conjugated form consists of two words.The verb encontrar has a completely regular conjugation in the Pretérito tense of the Indicativo mood. It means that this verb simply follows the general rules for its group (-ar) without spelling corrections or exceptions.
The basis for this conjugation is the stem of the verb, so we need to begin by splitting the infinitive into a stem and an ending. It’s very easy to do. Just remove two letters from the end of the infinitive and you have the ending — one of -ar, -er or -ir. What’s left is the stem. So in case of the verb encontrar it’s easy to see that:
  • the stem is: encontr-
  • and the ending is: -ar
Use the stem encontr- in each subject as the basis for the conjugations, the common prefix or root that each of the forms begins with.
Next, add to this regular stem the endings specific to each person. Check out the image showing all the endings. Notice the shapes and colors of the letters. It will help you find patterns and make it easier to remember these endings.Each grammatical person has a specific ending in each of the three conjugation groups -ar, -er, -ir.
endings preterito perfecto simple ar how to conjugate spanish verbs
Add the regular ending for the first person singular to create encontré:
  • yo encontré – I found
And once more add the regular ending -aste for the second person singular to create encontraste:
  • tú encontraste – you found
And as before add the regular ending for the third person singular to create encontró:
  • él encontró – he found
  • ella encontró – she found
  • usted encontró – (formal) you found
And as before add the regular ending -amos for the first person plural to create encontramos:
  • nosotros encontramos – we found
  • nosotras encontramos – (feminine) we found
Similarly add the regular ending -asteis for the second person plural to create encontrasteis:
  • vosotros encontrasteis – (plural) you found
  • vosotras encontrasteis – (feminine, plural) you found
As before add the regular ending -aron for the third person plural to create encontraron:
  • ellos encontraron – they found
  • ellas encontraron – (feminine) they found
  • ustedes encontraron – (formal, plural) you found

That’s it! The conjugation is now finished. That’s the final result:

yoencontréI found
encontrasteyou found
él/ella/ustedencontróhe/she/it found
nosotros/nosotrasencontramoswe found
vosotros/vosotrasencontrasteisyou found
ellos/ellas/ustedesencontraronthey found
Click to see all conjugation charts of encontrar in every tense

But do not end your session yet – it’s important to repeat and practice the material in order to retain it. Check below for examples and suggestions.

Example sentences

Encontré el diario debajo de tu cama.
I found the newspaper under your bed.
Al principio estaba aburrida pero en poco tiempo encontré muchas cosas para hacer.
Initially I was bored but in no time I found many things to do.

Next Steps to Perfection

  • To practice this conjugation and test yourself try this Conjugation Exercise or the Memory Game
  • To see other conjugation lessons for this verb choose another tense:  
  • For exercises and examples related to encontrar visit our Exercise section
  • To see conjugation charts in all tenses for encontrar visit the Conjugator
  • To explore other learning materials visit the Study section


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