On our journey to master all the irregular verbs in Spanish, today we’re looking at how to conjugate pedir in the preterite tense. This is one of those Spanish verbs that are actually fairly easy – but learners often make simple mistakes with it.
So in this article, we’ll be going over exactly how to use the verb pedir in Spanish, as well as master its conjugation in the preterite tense.
Let’s get started!
The Spanish verb pedir simply means “to ask for” or “to request”. The most important thing to know is that we use this verb when we want to ask for something – not just ask a question.
If you want to ask a question, you can use the regular verb preguntar. But today we’re talking about asking for requests. And, unfortunately, the pedir conjugation is a bit more complicated.
Pedir Present Tense Conjugation
Here we have the verb chart for the present indicative tense. We’ll start off easy for you. Pay attention to the fact that in the indicative mood, the Spanish verb pedir is irregular in just about every conjugation form.
|Tú / Vos||Pides / Pedís|
|Él / Ella / Usted||Pide|
|Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes||Piden|
Our lovely friend pedir follows the classic boot-verb irregular conjugation style. This means that everything except for Nosotros and Vosotros is irregular. In this case, the E will change to an I in the present tense.
Pedir Preterite Tense Conjugation
With that quick review out of the way, let’s move on to the fun part – the pedir conjugation in the preterite tense.
|Tú / Vos||Pediste|
|Él / Ella / Usted||Pidió|
|Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes||Pidieron|
So while most irregular verbs have a ton of changes in the preterite, the verb pedir is a bit more subtle with its irregularities.
The only changes that are present are in the third person. So while you say tú pediste, it changes to él pidió.
This is just proof that you always need to be on the lookout when it comes to Spanish conjugation!
Past Subjunctive Mood
Before we move on to the uses of pedir, we should do a quick review of the past subjunctive. There’s a clear connection between the pretérito perfecto simple and the past subjunctive.
Since the preterite tense and the subjunctive share a similar root, the best thing to do is to practice both at the same time
Now that we’re already here, let’s take the opportunity real quick to try and memorize the past subjunctive conjugation. Even if you aren’t comfortable using the subjunctive just yet, you’ll be one step ahead if you work on the conjugation chart now.
|Yo||Pidiera / Pidiese|
|Tú / Vos||Pidieras / Pidieses|
|Él / Ella / Usted||Pidiera / Pidiese|
|Nosotros||Pidiéramos / Pidiésemos|
|Vosotros||Pidierais / Pidieseis|
|Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes||Pidieran / Pidiesen|
Do you notice any obvious patterns here? All past subjunctive forms have the same base as the third person for the preterite tense.
So since we say él / ella pidió, we use that same pid root to conjugate pedir in the past subjunctive.
The great news is that by learning this rule for one conjugation, you’re learning an essential truth for all Spanish verbs. With one small step, you’re taking a big dive into Spanish grammar.
How to use Pedir in the preterite tense
Now let’s get on to the good stuff. Let’s practice specific ways to use the verb pedir in the preterite tense. In general, pedir can mean two things – to ask for and to request. But we’re going to see that you can use this in situations you might not have expected.
Let’s look at some examples for both of those meanings in a bit more detail.
The most obvious usage of the irregular verb pedir is “to ask for”. Not for questions, but for requests. Here are a few common examples:
- Tú pediste que dejara de hacer eso – To asked him to stop doing that
- El año pasado les pedimos a mis padres que cuidaran de mi gato mientras estábamos de viaje – Last year we asked my parents if they could take care of my cat while we were on vacation.
As you can see here, we’re asking for something, not asking a question.
Notice the usage of the past subjunctive here? The verb pedir often triggers the subjunctive, so today you’re getting two lessons in one!
While in English we don’t usually “request” food. But the truth is, “request” and “order” can be considered synonyms. And we see that here with the verb pedir. We use this verb to talk about ordering food, talking about deliveries, or any other type of service.
- Anoche pedimos pizza – Last night we ordered pizza
- ¿Os gustó lo que pedisteis en el restaurante? – Did you all like what you ordered at the restaurant?
So if you’re ever planning on traveling to a Spanish-speaking country – mastering the verb pedir is essential.
Expressions with the verb pedir
Pedir is a fairly common verb, and like almost any Spanish verb that is used very frequently – you’ll find it’s used in a lot of expressions. No matter what your Spanish level is, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with colloquialisms because they might not seem very logical.
So all of these expressions can use this irregular verb in the preterite tense, or in just about any other tense. So stay on the lookout!
To make an appointment
Pedí hora para renovarme el pasaporte hace un mes – I made an appointment to renew my passport a month ago.
You can also use the expression “pedir cita” interchangeably.
Pedir perdón / disculpas
- Quiero que pidas perdón a tu hermana – I want you to apologize to your sister
- Los niños pidieron disculpas por su comportamiento – The boys apologized for their behavior
Pedir la luna
To ask too much
Yo no te pido la luna. – I’m not asking you for too much.
This one comes from a very famous (although a bit cheesy) Sergio Dalma song from 2012. If you love early 2000s pop-rock songs, you can practice the pedir conjugation while you’re jamming out!
Pedir la cuenta
To ask for the bill
- Ya pedimos la cuenta hace 20 minutos pero no veo el mesero – We asked for the bill 20 minutes ago, but I don’t see the waiter.
No te pedimos nada más
That’s all for today! We won’t ask you to study anything else today.
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