Desayunar Preterite Conjugation

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

The verb ''desayunar'' means to have breakfast, and we often talk about it in the past tense. So you can tell about past breakfasts in Spanish, this lesson explores the preterite through some delicious breakfasts in Spain.

Let's Talk About Spanish Breakfast

When was the last time you had a huge breakfast? Or, at what time did you have breakfast today? Your answers to these questions are in the preterite or past tense whether you choose to say them in English or Spanish. For Spanish purposes, the verb desayunar (deh-sah-yoo-NAHR) means 'to have breakfast.'

In the Spanish-speaking world, different countries have different customs for breakfast time. Sometimes, breakfast habits vary from city to city within the same country. We're going to take a look at different breakfast traditions in Spain. Moreover, you'll get to learn about some typical breakfast foods. But first, let's learn to conjugate the verb desayunar in the preterite tense.

The Preterite Tense of Desayunar

Desayunar (deh-sah-yoo-NAHR) - 'to have breakfast'

Subject Pronoun Desayunar Conjugation Pronunciation Translation
yo desayuné deh-sah-yoo-NEH I had breakfast
desayunaste deh-sah-yoo-NAHS-teh you (singular/informal) had breakfast
desayunó deh-sah-yoo-NOH he/she/you (singular/formal) had breakfast
desayunamos deh-sah-yoo-NAH-mohs we had breakfast
desayunasteis deh-sah-yoo-NAHS-teh-ees you (plural/informal) had breakfast
desayunaron deh-sah-yoo-NAH-rohn they/you (plural/formal) had breakfast

Breakfasts in Spain


Here we are now in Valencia talking to Nuria, a girl from Valencia. We ask her this question:

  • ¿Qué desayunaste esta mañana? (What did you have for breakfast this morning?)

Nuria tells us:

  • Desayuné con una bebida típica de Valencia que se llama horchata. (I had for breakfast a typical drink from Valencia called horchata).

Nuria offers us a picture of the horchata she had for breakfast, and here it is:

Translation: My friends from Valencia had horchata for breakfast.

Before we leave Nuria, she tells us that horchata is made with a sweet legume called chufa.


We meet Juan Carlos in Málaga, and he is accompanied by his wife. We ask them:

  • ¿Qué desayunasteis esta mañana? (What did you have for breakfast this morning?)

Juan Carlos tells us:

  • Desayunamos café con tejeringos, que es masa dulce frita. (We had for breakfast coffee with tejeringos, which are made of sweet fried dough.)


Here in Mallorca, we meet a couple of businessmen who just finished their breakfast. Since they look very formal for work, it's best if we also address them as ustedes. Let's ask them:

  • ¿Qué desayunaron ustedes esta mañana? (What did you have for breakfast this morning?)

One of the gentlemen says:

  • Yo no desayuné, pero mi compañero desayunó café con leche y una coca de patata porque tiene alergia al gluten. (I didn't have breakfast, but my partner had for breakfast coffee with milk and potato cake because he is allergic to gluten.)

Great! Now we know two things. First, we add no in front of the verb to make a negative sentence. Second, coca de patata is a cake made without flour but with mashed potatoes to substitute for the flour. It looks very soft and tasty!

Translation: The potato cake is prepared with eggs, sugar, almonds, and mashed potatoes.


We see a whole family leaving the most popular cafeteria in Badajoz. We ask the waiter about what the family had for breakfast. Our waiter tells us:

  • Toda la familia desayunó migas, que es pan duro sofrito con ajos, chorizo y sardinas en aceite de oliva. (The whole family had migas for breakfast, which is hard bread re-fried with garlic, pork sausage, and sardines in olive oil.)

This is a very unique dish and it is usually served with fruit to have a sweet touch on it.

Translation: During my vacation in Badajoz, I had migas for breakfast every day.

And a final note before we move onto the capital of Spain: the word migas means 'crumbs,' which makes sense if we take a look at the picture with migas.

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