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13.11: Pretérito e imperfecto IV

  • Page ID
    50001
  • Objetivos

    • Integrate the various uses of preterit and imperfect in complete narrations

    Now that we have come to the end of the unit on the differences between preterit and imperfect, let’s combine our knowledge and review how the two tenses are used to create complete narrations:

    When to use the imperfect: When to use the preterit:
    1. Circumstance, description, setting
    2. Telling what the day/date was
    3. Telling what time it was
    4. Telling someone’s age
    5. Emotional/mental conditions (thinking, wishing, wanting)
    6. Habitual, repeated, ongoing past action
    7. Simultaneous actions (e.g. “I was reading while you were sleeping.”)
    1. Sudden or completed action
    2. Single event at a specific time (e.g. “left at 7 pm”)
    3. Happened a specific number of times
    4. For a specific amount of time
    5. Consecutive past actions
    6. Action that interrupts something
    7. Onset of a condition
    Key words for the imperfect: Key words for the preterit:
    • Play AudioMuchas veces
    • Play AudioMucho
    • Play AudioA menudo
    • Play AudioSiempre
    • Play AudioTodos los días
    • Play AudioUsualmente
    • Play AudioMientras
    • Play AudioCada noche
    • Play AudioNunca
    • Play AudioCada verano
    • Play AudioLos martes, Play Audiolos veranos
    • Play AudioA veces
    • Play AudioAyer, anteayer
    • Play AudioEl viernes, el lunes pasado…
    • Play AudioAnoche
    • Play AudioEl mes pasado
    • Play AudioEl año pasado
    • Play AudioUna vez, dos veces
    • Play AudioEsta mañana
    • Play AudioAl mediodía
    • Play AudioA las siete
    • Play AudioLa semana pasada
    • Play AudioEl 8 de marzo…

    Understanding the subtle differences between these two tenses will help you understand that non-action verbs change meaning when used in the imperfect or the preterit.

    Non-action verb imperfect preterit
    Play Audioconocer was acquainted with met (for the first time)
    Play Audiosaber knew (about things/facts) discovered, came to know
    Play Audiohaber there was/were (background information) there was/were (incident)
    Play Audiopoder was able to (situational: had ability) accomplished (demonstrated ability)
    no poder was not able to (situational: did not have ability) did not accomplish (demonstrated lack of ability)
    Play Audioquerer wanted (situational: had desire) attempted to (demonstrated desire)
    no querer didn’t want (situational: had no desire) declined to (demonstrated lack of desire)
    Play Audiohacer (in weather expressions) was (background description) became or was (onset of weather condition, or condition lasting for a specific amount of time)

    Ejemplos:

    • Play AudioHacía más frío durante los inviernos cuando yo era joven. En las celebraciones navideñas del 2015 hizo tanto calor en Nueva York que todos llevábamos pantalones cortos. (It was colder in the winter when I was young. And in Christmas of 2015 it was so hot out in New York that we were all wearing shorts.)
    • Play AudioLa niña pequeña quería asistir a la fiesta de quince años de su prima, pero cuando empezó la música se sintió cohibida y no quiso salir a bailar. (The little girl wanted to attend her cousin’s quinceañera party, but when the music started she felt shy and declined to get out and dance.)
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