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Vestirse Preterite Conjugation

Instructor: Kristi Marie
'Vestirse' is a reflexive Spanish verb meaning 'to dress' or 'to wear.' We'll learn how to conjugate it in the preterite tense and see how it's commonly used with different example sentences.

Using Vestirse

Sometimes we just need to talk about what someone wore. Whether it's one of Lady Gaga's outlandish outfits or a friend's hilarious Halloween costume, we need vestirse (bes-TEER-say) in the preterite tense to discuss someone's past clothing choices.

Elisa dressed as a witch.
witch

Reflexive Verbs

Vestirse is a reflexive verb, which means that the action is done to itself. This just means, for example, that you dress yourself. A fancy way to say this is that the subject is also the object. We know that vestirse is reflexive because of the se on the end. The verb vestir (without the se) is not reflexive, so it would be used if we wanted to dress someone else.

In Spanish, verbs are made reflexive by adding a reflexive pronoun, i.e. going from vestir to vestirse. Reflexive pronouns change form for each subject of the verb. For example, to say 'I got dressed' (yo me vestí), we would use the reflexive pronoun me because it is in the yo form. The reflexive pronoun always goes before the conjugated verb in the preterite tense. Here are the reflexive pronouns for each subject:

Subject Pronoun Reflexive Pronoun
yo me
te
él/ella/usted se
nosotros nos
vosotros os
ellos/ellas/ustedes se

The Preterite Tense

The preterite tense allows us to communicate completed actions in the past. For example, if you wanted to say, 'she got dressed quickly,' this would use the preterite tense in Spanish (ella se vistió rápidamente) because it is a completed action in the past.

The preterite tense is conjugated with specific verb endings. To conjugate the verb vestirse, start with the stem of the verb (vest) and add the preterite ending for -ir verbs. To say 'you got dressed,' we would take vest and add the ending for the form, -iste. This gives us vestiste. We would then add the reflexive pronoun, making our conjugated verb te vestiste. Here are the preterite verb endings for -ir verbs:

Subject Pronoun Preterite -ir Verb Endings
yo
-iste
él/ella/usted -ió
nosotros -imos
vosotros -isteis
ellos/ellas/ustedes -ieron

Vestirse Preterite Conjugations

Vestirse follows the normal conjugation rules for -ir verbs in the preterite tense. The only exception is in the él/ella/usted and ellos/ellas/ustedes forms. Vestirse is unique in these forms because it is an e to i stem changer. This means that instead of it being conjugated as vestió and vestieron, the first e changes to an i, making it vistió and vistieron. These are the only irregular forms of vestirse in the preterite. Here is a table with all of the conjugations of vestirse in the preterite tense:

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