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Why do verbs ser and ir have identical conjugations in the preterite?

Hola a todos:

Verbs ser and ir are, as we know, different verbs in Spanish. Here are both verbs conjugated in all six persons, in the present tense:

SER

IR

Soy

Voy

Eres

Vas

Es

Va

Somos

Vamos

(Sois)

(Vais)

Son

Van

Many students find it shocking to learn that, in the past tense, both verbs are identical:

SER

IR

Fui

Fui

Fuiste

Fuiste

Fue

Fue

Fuimos

Fuimos

(Fuisteis)

(Fuisteis)

Fueron

Fueron

And they ask: “how can this be?” Well, there is an explanation: Spanish developed from Vulgar Latin, which was brought to the Iberian Peninsula by the Roman soldiers during the Second Punic War (3rd Century BC). In Classical Latin, the equivalent verbs for ser and ir (esse and ire, respectively) did have different past tenses, but Spanish, as it developed from a not-so-well-spoken version of the ancient language, “took” the Latin past tense for esse (ser) and applied it to both verbs ser and ir, ignoring the “original” Latin past tense for ire.

Isn’t that interesting?

1200px-Roman_forum
The Roman Forum, in downtown Ancient Rome, where it all started, photographed in 2007. / PUBLIC DOMAIN

 

Verbo de la semana:

Quedarse – to stay/to remain

Juan se quedó en el Hotel Plaza.

Juan stayed at the Plaza Hotel.

¿Te quedaste en casa el sábado?

Did you stay home on Saturday?

Cuando estuve en LA me quedé en casa de Mike.

When I was in LA I stayed at Mike’s house.

¿Dónde te estás quedando?

Where are you staying?

Siempre me quedo en el mismo hotel.

I always stay at the same hotel.

 

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