FAQ: When to use the imperfect?

What’s the difference between the perfect and imperfect tense?

The imperfect tense is used to describe a completed event that occurred over a period of time or an event that occurred within an event. The perfect tense is used to show a brief action completed at a single point in time or to show which of two events occurred before the other.

What do you use imperfect tense in Spanish for?

The imperfect tense is used: to describe repeated or continuous actions in the past. to describe what something or someone was like in the past. to say what people used to do or what things used to be like.

How do you know when to use imperfect or preterite?

In very general terms, the preterite tense is used to refer to a single event that happened at a specific point of time or had a specific duration in the past, while the imperfect tense is used to describe ongoing events or events without a specific time period in the past.

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When should you use the imperfect tense?

The imperfect tense is generally used for actions in the past that do not have a definite end. These can be actions that are not yet completed or refer to a time in general in the past. It can also be used to talk about: actions that were repeated habitually.

Does the imperfect tense exist in English?

English has no general imperfective and expresses it in different ways. The term “imperfect” in English refers to forms much more commonly called past progressive or past continuous (e.g. “was doing” or “were doing”). These are combinations of past tense with specifically continuous or progressive aspect.

What is an example of imperfect tense?

The imperfect tense is one of the verb tenses used to talk about the past, especially in descriptions, and to say what was happening or used to happen, for example, It was sunny at the weekend; We were living in Spain at the time; I used to walk to school.

Is estaba imperfect?

Using the chart below you can learn how to conjugate the Spanish verb estar in Imperfect tense.

Mode: Indicative.

Personal Pronoun Conjugation
Yo estaba
Tu estabas
El/Ella estaba
Nosotros estábamos

Do you use imperfect for emotions?

The imperfect is used to describe past actions that have no clear beginning and end. This includes descriptions, age, weather, time, and emotions. It also refers to repeated action (translated as “used to”) such as, “iba todos los veranos” (I used to go every summer). Learn more about conjugating the imperfect tense.

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Is todos los dias imperfect?

The fact that an action is habitual or not is determined by the context, or time markers such as “todos los días“, not by the choice of tense between imperfect and preterite. You’d use imperfect if people were still buying them before the end of the year, and you don’t intend to reach that end in your story (just yet).

Is suddenly preterite or imperfect?

Use the imperfect to set the stage for another past action. This second past action will normally need the preterite. It’s usually used to say that someone was doing such and such a thing (imperfect), when all of a sudden something happened (preterite).

Is antes imperfect or preterite?

Since the reader doesn’t know when the action of going to the movies, ends, you would use “ibamos”, the imperfect past. “Antes de, ibamos cada fin de semana al cine.” An example of the preterite: “Yesterday, we went to the movies.” The preterit has a definite beginning and ending.

What is imperfect subjunctive used for?

The imperfect subjunctive is used when you are indicating an action in the past in the same situation where the subjunctive would be required in the present. For example, look at this sentence in the present subjunctive: Es emocionante que Maria me lea el periódico.

What are the three irregular verbs in the imperfect tense?

The verbs ir (to go), ver (to see), and ser (to be) are completely irregular in the imperfect tense.

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