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Conducir Conjugation: Preterite & Imperfect

Instructor: Tiffany Strickland

Tiffany has taught middle, high, and college level Spanish and has a Educational Specialist's Degree in Teaching and Learning.

In this lesson, we will learn how to use the verb 'conducir,' which means 'to drive.' We will learn to conjugate the verb in the preterite and imperfect tenses, and we'll see examples of the verb used in real life.

Using The Verb Conducir

If you want to talk about driving in Spanish, you are going to need the verb conducir (pronounced KOHN-doo-seer), which means 'to drive.' For this lesson, imagine you are in high school talking to a friend about who drove to school and who didn't.

You ask: ¿Condujiste a la escuela hoy? (Did you drive to school today?)

Your friend answers: Sí, yo conduje a la escuela hoy. Conduje mi camioneta. (Yes, I drove to school today. I drove my truck.)

You ask another friend and she says: Yo no conduje a la escuela hoy. Mi madre condujo. (I didn't drive to school today. My mom drove.)

Conduje mi camioneta. (I drove my truck.)
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Conducir in the Past (Preterite Tense)

Do you see how the verb conducir is used in the past tense in the story above? It is in the preterite tense, one of the past tenses used in Spanish. This past tense is used to talk about events in the past that have a definite beginning and definite end. They are seen as over and completed. You also use the preterite for past events in a story, the amount of time something lasted, and number of times an event occurred.

Conducir is an -ir verb in Spanish, but it is irregular. When you conjugate it in the preterite tense, you take off the -cir before conjugating. You then add a -j before you add the conjugation endings. This verb is considered an irregular preterite stem, so its conjugation endings are slightly different than the regular -ir verb endings. Let's look at the conjugations now.

Subject Pronouns Conducir Conjugation (Preterite) Pronunciation Translation
yo conduje kohn-DOO-hay I drove
condujiste kohn-doo-HEE-stay you drove
él, ella, usted condujo kohn-DOO-ho he/she/you (formal) drove
nosotros/nosotras condujimos kohn-doo-HEE-mohs we drove
vosotros/vosotras condujisteis kohn-doo-HEE-stays you (plural) drove
ellos, ellas, ustedes condujeron kohn-doo-HAY-rohn they/you (formal, plural) drove

Conducir in the Past (Imperfect Tense)

Imagine now that you and your grandfather are reminiscing about his past. You want to know about driving when he was younger, so you have a conversation with him.

You: &iquestQué conducías cuando eras más joven? (What did you drive when you were younger?)

Grandfather: Yo no conducía mi propio carro cuando era más joven, pero mi madre conducía un Mustang amarillo de 1967. Algunas veces ella y yo conducíamos el carro juntos, y era muy divertido. (I didn't drive my own car when I was younger, but my mother drove a 1967 yellow Mustang. Sometimes we drove the car together, and it was very fun.)

You: Que cheveré que tu madre conducía este carro. (How cool that your mom drove that car.)

Condujimos el carro. (We drove the car.)
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