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PRETERITE VS. IMPERFECT

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PRETERITE VS. IMPERFECT. When to use these past tenses. When to Use the Preterite. When an action was completed When an action was completed at a specific time When an action was completed a specific number of times When an action began or ended

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preterite vs imperfect

PRETERITE VS. IMPERFECT

When to use these past tenses

when to use the preterite
When to Use the Preterite
  • When an action was completed
  • When an action was completed at a specific time
  • When an action was completed a specific number of times
  • When an action began or ended
  • When an action interrupts another action
phrases that indicate use of the preterite
Ayer

Anteayer

Anoche

Desde el primer momento

Durante dos siglos

El otro día

En ese momento

Entonces

Esta mañana

El año pasado

Hace dos días

Hace cuatro años

Ayer por la mañana

Ayer por la tarde

Esta tarde

La semana pasada

El mes pasado

Phrases that indicate use of the preterite
when to use the imperfect
When to use the Imperfect
  • To state in general when an action took place
  • To describe background information
  • To express weather
  • To tell time
  • To tell age
  • To describe physical and mental states and conditions, including feelings
  • To express habitual actions
  • To express what used to happen
  • To express what was/were…ing
phrases that indicate use of the imperfect
A menudo

A veces

Cada día

Cada semana

Cada mes

Cada año

Nunca

En aquella época

Frecuentemente

Generalmente

Muchas veces

Mucho

De vez en cuando

Con frecuencia

Phrases that indicate use of the Imperfect
slide6
¡OJO!
  • Some verbs change meaning depending on whether they are in the preterite or in the imperfect…
verbs that change meaning in the preterite and imperfect
Preterite

Querer- tried

No querer-refused

Conocer-met

Saber-found out

Poder-succeeded

Tener-received

Imperfect

Querer-wanted

No querer- didn’t want

Conocer-knew

Saber-knew

Poder-was able

Tener-used to have

Verbs that change meaning in the preterite and imperfect
examples of the preterite tense
Examples of the preterite tense

Paco trabajó al supermercado hace dos años.

Paco worked at the supermarket 2 years ago.

Yo leí el periódico ayer por la tarde.

I read the newspaper yesterday afternoon.

Comimos una torta a la fiesta el viernes pasado.

We ate a cake at the party last Friday.

examples of the imperfect tense
Examples of the imperfect tense

Hacía mal tiempo.

It was bad weather.

Yo tenía miedo de la tormenta.

I was afraid of the storm.

Mi abuelo tenía 84 años.

My grandfather was 84 years old.

Mi padre era un chico malo.

My father was a bad boy.

examples of the preterite vs the imperfect tenses
Examples of the preterite vs. the imperfect tenses

Beto estudió anoche.

Beto studied last night.

Beto estudiaba todas las noches.

Beto used to study every night.

Beto estudiaba cuando se durmió.

Beto was studying when he fell asleep.