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Conseguir: Preterite & Imperfect

Instructor: Maria Elena Knolle Cano

Maria Elena has taught Spanish and German to learners of all levels in Europe, Asia and Australia and has a Master's degree in Cultural Studies and Communication.

In this lesson the verb ''conseguir'' (to get, obtain, achieve) is taking center stage. We will learn how to conjugate the preterite as well as imperfect past tense forms of ''conseguir'' and have some fun meeting cocky Mister Lopez from Spain in the process.

Talking about Success

There was once a very famous actress, who reportedly stated: El éxito es conseguir lo que quieres, la felicidad es querer lo que consigues ('Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get').

The actriz (actress) in question was Swedish icon Ingrid Bergmann, and deducing from the success and fame she consiguió ('achieved') as an actress, she definitely knew what she was talking about.

Conseguir means 'to achieve, get, obtain'. To achieve something (conseguir algo) is almost a mantra in most success-driven Western societies in the world. Furthermore, most people who achieve a lot can't wait to talk about it! So how would you conjugate conseguir in the preterite tense, in the past tense that indicates that the action described fully belongs to the past?

Let's take a look at the correct preterite tense conjugations of conseguir before meeting a very rich and very confident business man who simply cannot wait to share his tales!

Preterite Conjugations Of Conseguir

Pronoun Conjugated verb Pronunciation Translation
Yo conseguí kohn-say-GWEE I got, obtained, achieved
conseguiste kohn-say- GWEE-stay You got, obtained, achieved
Él, ella, Usted consiguió kohn-see-GWEE-oh He, she, you (formal) got
Nosotros, nosotras conseguimos kohn- say-GWEE- mohs We (male, female) got
Vosotros, vosotras conseguisteis kohn-say-GWEE-stays You (plural male, female) got
Ellos, ellas, Ustedes consiguieron kohn- see- GWEE-rohn They (male, female), you (formal, plural) got

¿Lo conseguiste? (Got it?) Great, as this means that we can finally listen to the story of Señor López (Mister Lopez), who is a very rich and determined businessman from Madrid, Spain. Ready for a real success story?

Conseguir mucho dinero = to obtain a lot of money
a suitcase full of money

Snr. López: Hola y muy bienvenidos ('Hello and welcome'). A lo largo de mi vida conseguí casi todo lo que me propuse. (Throughout my life, I got almost everything I wanted').

Conseguí mi meta de convertirme en alumno estrella de la facultad de derecho. ('I achieved my goal of becoming the star pupil of the faculty of law.')

¿Tú conseguiste algo tan importante como lo hice yo? ('Did you achieve anything as important as I did?') Lo dudo. ('I doubt it'.)

Mi hija es como yo: consiguió las mejores notas y el mejor trabajo. ('My daughter is like me: she obtained the best marks and the best job.')

Mi familia y yo, nosotros somos luchadores. ('My family and I, we are fighters'.) Juntos conseguimos un million de Euros en menos de un año. ('Together we obtained a million Euros in less than a year'.)

¿Y vosotros, la juventud de hoy, que conseguisteis? ('And you, the youth of today, what did you achieve?')

Os tengo que contar de mis ancestros: ellos consiguieron su meta de convertirse en la familia mas rica de España. ('I have to tell you about my ancestors: they achieved their goal to turn into Spain's richest family.')

What a confident, or shall we say cocky, gentleman this Mister Lopez is! It might actually be more interesting to find out about the imperfect tense conjugations of conseguir than to listen to him any minute longer!

Imperfect conjugations of conseguir

Just to remind you, the imperfect tense is all about describing what someone was doing or used to do in the past. It refers to habitual actions that took place and sets the background for a story.

Take a look at the imperfect tense conjugations:

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