Past Simple Tense – Translation of text.

Last month I promised you a translation of a short text.  I hope you are not expecting too much as it isn’t very exciting.  I will translate it first and make a few comments at the end.

Ayer me desperté a las siete como siempre.  Era un día de trabajo y tuve que levantarme para llevar a mis hijos al instituto.  No pude despertar a la menor enseguida porque dormía muy profundamente y no quiso levantarse.  Mi otra hija se levantó más fácilmente  y se fue a la cocina para desayunar.  Yo me duché, me vestí y desayuné también y después fuimos en coche al instituto, llegando justo a tiempo.

Al volver a casa leí mi correo electrónico y los titulares de los periódicos en internet.  Hablé con dos o tres personas por teléfono y tomé un té con leche al estilo inglés.  Después de varias otras tareas domesticas y profesionales, como poner la lavadora y preparar fotocopias, cogí mis cosas y me fui a trabajar en Torrevieja.  

Después del trabajo comí también en Torrevieja y me relajé un poco.  Por la tarde hice las compras y al volver a casa guardé todo en la cocina.  Mi hija me llamó para decirme donde estaba y luego me senté otra vez con el ordenador a trabajar.  Más tarde salí para hacer algunos recados y después de cenar  en casa vi mi programa favorito en la tele.   Me acosté sobre las doce y me dormí enseguida.

Yesterday I woke up at seven o’clock as usual.  It was a working day and I had to get up to take my children to (secondary) school. I couldn’t wake the younger one up straightaway because she was sleeping deeply and didn’t want to get up.  My other daughter got up more easily and went off to the kitchen to have breakfast.  I had a shower, got dressed and had breakfast as well and then we went to school by car, arriving just on time.

When I got back home I read my emails and the newspaper headlines on the Internet.  I spoke to two or three people on the phone and had an English-style cup of tea with milk.  After various other domestic and professional tasks, like putting on the washing machine and preparing photocopies, I picked up my things and went to work in Torrevieja.

After work I had lunch, also in Torrevieja and relaxed a bit.  In the afternoon I did the shopping and when I got home, put it all away in the kitchen.  My daughter phoned me to tell me where she was and then I sat down again at my computer to work.  Later I went out on a few errands and after supper at home I watched my favourite programme on television.  I went to bed about twelve o’clock and fell asleep straightaway.

Well I hope you managed to overcome the excitement and got to the end.  The main reason for the text is to provide a framework for the use of the Past Simple Tense, which also contrasts with the Past Continuous Tense and the use of the Infinitive as I mentioned last month.  You might be interested to notice how many Reflexive Verbs there are and also how they work in various sentences.

When the Reflexive Verb has an ending change, the Reflexive Pronoun goes in front (me desperté, me duché, se levantó etc.), but when the Reflexive Verb is in the Infinitive Form, it is usual (although not obligatory) to tack the Reflexive Pronoun on to the end of the verb (tuve que levantarme, no quiso levantarse etc.)  It is also possible to separate the Reflexive Pronoun from the Infinitive (me tuve que levantar, no se quiso levantar).  This is perhaps slightly less common but equally valid.  You often find this word order in songs if it fits it better with the rhythm.  The songs are usually about more interesting things than getting up in the morning, although, believe it or not, an emblematic song of the eighties in Spain is entitled “Hoy no me puedo levantar” – honestly!

See you next month.


Jane Cronin’s ‘Step by Step Spanish’ articles are available as E-books at where you can also obtain Jane’s ‘Step by Step Internet Spanish Course’.