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Decidir Conjugation: Preterite & Past Perfect

Instructor: Raychelle Heath

Raychelle has a BA in Spanish and an MFA in Writing. She has studied in Puerto Rico and currently lives in Mexico. She has taught Spanish in various settings.

Did you decide on anything today? The verb 'to decide' in Spanish is 'decidir'. In this lesson, you will learn how to conjugate 'decidir' in the preterite. You will also learn the participle for 'decidir', which can be used to create the past perfect.

Decisions, Decisions

What did you decide to wear today? What did you decide to eat? The verb decidir (deh-see-DEER) means 'to decide' in Spanish. In this lesson, we will look at two ways to conjugate decidir in the past, using the preterite and the past perfect. You will also see some helpful examples of how to use this verb. All verbs are conjugated in the indicative form.

Decidir in the Preterite Tense

The preterite tense is used to talk about things that happened once in the past and then ended. It is often referred to as the short-term past. The verb decidir is regular in this tense.

VERB: decidir (deh-see-DEER) 'to decide'

Preterite Tense Pronunciation Translation
yo decidí deh-see-DEE I decided
decidiste deh-see-DEE-stay You (informal) decided
él, ella,
decidió deh-see-dee-OH He, she, you (formal) decided
decidimos deh-see-DEE-mose We decided
decidisteis deh-see-dee-STAY-ees You (plural, informal) decided
ellos, ellas,
decidieron deh-see-dee-EH-rone They (male, female), you (plural, formal) decided

Examples in the Preterite

Here are a few examples of decidir in the preterite tense. Remember that in Spanish, pronouns are used for clarity only.

  • Decidieron que no era una buena idea ir a la fiesta. (They decided that it wasn't a good idea to go to the party.)
  • No decidí entre los dos porque quería ambos. (I didn't decide between the two because I wanted both.)
  • ¿Cómo decidiste vivir en esta ciudad? (How did you decide to live in this city?)

Translation: How did you decide to live in this city?
how did you decide

Note: The phrase 'to make the/a decision' in Spanish is tomar la/una decisión. For example:

  • Tomamos la decisión de ir a la playa. (We made the decision to go to the beach.)

Did You Decide Yet?

Lisa has been offered a new job. Her friend Marco wants to know if she will take it or not. Let's listen in on their conversation?

Marco: Lisa, ¿ya decidiste si vas a aceptar el nuevo trabajo? (Lisa, have you decided if you are going to accept the new job yet?)

Lisa: Sí, decidí que quiero el trabajo. (Yes, I decided I wanted the job.)

Marco: ¡Genial! ¿Y ya decidieron los gerentes si puedes quedarte en esta oficina? (Cool! And have the managers decided if you can stay in this office yet?)

Lisa: Todavía no tomaron esa decisión. (They still didn't make that decision.)

Decidir in the Past Perfect Tense

The past perfect tense is used to talk about an action that happened for another action in the past. This tense requires the helping verb haber and the Spanish form of the participle, which for decidir is decidido.

For this form of the verb the helping verb changes according to the subject used, but the participle remains the same.

VERB: decidir (deh-see-DEER) 'to decide'

Past Perfect Tense Pronunciation Translation
yo había decidido ah-BEE-ah-see-DEE-doe I have decided
habías decidido ah-BEE-ahs-deh-see-DEE-doe You (informal) have decided
él, ella,
había decidido ah-BEE-ah-deh-see-DEE-doe He, she has decided; you (formal) have decided
habíamos decidido ah-BEE-ah-mose-deh-see-DEE-doe We have decided
habíais decidido ah-BEE-ah-ees-deh-see-DEE-doe You (plural, informal) have decided
ellos, ellas,
habían decidido ah-BEE-ahn-deh-see-DEE-doe They (male, female), you (plural, formal) have decided

Note: For the past perfect, the imperfect tense of haber is used, not the preterite.

Examples in the Past Perfect

Here are some examples of decidir in past perfect tense:

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