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Hey y'all,
This is the first time I have had a chance to post since the "new and improved" forum has been added. I need some help with how to use "ser" or "estar" in past tense sentences. This has been giving me some trouble. Por ejemplo:

  1. She was driving the car. Ella estuvo manejando el carro. Is this correct? In spanish can I use the past tense with the present progressive tense? Or do I need to leave ser or estar out and say:

  2. She drove the car to the store. Ella manejó el carro a la tienda. Gracias por todo la ayuda amigos.

vance

  • Posted Apr 7, 2009
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12 Answers

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The difference between those sentences is pretty close to their English counterparts:

(Ella) estuvo manejando el carro = She was driving the car
(Ella) manejó el carro a la tienda = She drove the car to the shop

Which one is correct in English? "she was driving" or "she drove"? The answer to this question will answer your question about "estaba manejando" and "manejó".

0 Vote

lazarus,
Thanks for the reply. I may not be asking the question correctly. I was not looking at the diffeence between the sentences as much as I need to know in Spanish, can we use the past tense "estuvo" with the present tense "manejando'" May be better asked this way. Can I use past tense "ser" with present tense "manejando"? Or does everything in the sentence have to be past tense? Thanks.
Vance

0 Vote

It depends on what the context is. For example if you are telling a story about a woman you would have to use estaba manejando, because she was driving the whole time. Or if you wanted you could say "Ella estaba manejando y choco' con otro carro." So, the action is happening when another action interrupts it would have to be the imperfect.
Does that help'

0 Vote

lazarus,

Thanks for the reply. I may not be asking the question correctly. I was not looking at the diffeence between the sentences as much as I need to know in Spanish, can we use the past tense "estuvo" with the present tense "manejando'" May be better asked this way. Can I use past tense "ser" with present tense "manejando"? Or does everything in the sentence have to be past tense? Thanks.

Vance

I think you are misunderstanding the "manejando" part, the gerund of the verb, which does not alter when used with the present, the past or any other tense as far as I am aware. I believe It´s the same in English, as in Spanish. I am driving, I was driving. The driving part, the gerund, doesn´t alter.

0 Vote

lazarus,

Thanks for the reply. I may not be asking the question correctly. I was not looking at the diffeence between the sentences as much as I need to know in Spanish, can we use the past tense "estuvo" with the present tense "manejando'" May be better asked this way. Can I use past tense "ser" with present tense "manejando"? Or does everything in the sentence have to be past tense? Thanks.

Vance

I think you are misunderstanding the "manejando" part, the gerund of the verb, which does not alter when used with the present, the past or any other tense as far as I am aware. I believe It´s the same in English, as in Spanish. I am driving, I was driving. The driving part, the gerund, doesn´t alter.

Eddy, sorry to be a nit picking turd but I think you are refering to the present participle form of the verb. A gerund is when said present participle functions as a noun as in "smoking is dangerous". In the case of the present continuous (to be + present participle) obviously the present participle is not functioning as a noun and therefore cannot be refered to as a gerund.

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Eddy, sorry to be a nit picking turd but I think you are refering to the present participle form of the verb. A gerund is when said present participle functions as a noun as in "smoking is dangerous". In the case of the present continuous (to be + present participle) obviously the present participle is not functioning as a noun and therefore cannot be refered to as a gerund.

As everyone knows, grammar is not my strongest point, however, I believe my explanation still stands in that "manejando" does not change when used with the present or the past. Stand to be corrected again though, hehe.

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Eddy, sorry to be a nit picking turd but I think you are refering to the present participle form of the verb. A gerund is when said present participle functions as a noun as in "smoking is dangerous". In the case of the present continuous (to be + present participle) obviously the present participle is not functioning as a noun and therefore cannot be refered to as a gerund.

As everyone knows, grammar is not my strongest point, however, I believe my explanation still stands in that "manejando" does not change when used with the present or the past. Stand to be corrected again though, hehe.

You are absolutely right about that.

I am driving. (present continuous)

I was driving. (past continuous)

0 Vote

Spanish, can we use the past tense "estuvo" with the present tense "manejando'"

Yes, although manejando does not have a tense. The auxiliary verb provides the tense when needed.

Estuvo manejando = was driving (over and done with, complete action)
Estaba manejando = was driving (when something else happened)
Se hizo rico manejando las finanzas personales = He became rich by managing his personal finances (manejando has no tense here)

May be better asked this way. Can I use past tense "ser" with present tense "manejando"?

No. Ser no se usa con el gerundio (por lo general).

Or does everything in the sentence have to be past tense?

You only have one verb with tense (estuvo) in your sentence, so I'm not sure what "everything" means.

0 Vote

Spanish, can we use the past tense "estuvo" with the present tense "manejando'"

Yes, although manejando does not have a tense. The auxiliary verb provides the tense when needed.

Estuvo manejando = was driving (over and done with, complete action)

Estaba manejando = was driving (when something else happened)

Se hizo rico manejando las finanzas personales = He became rich by managing his personal finances (manejando has no tense here)

May be better asked this way. Can I use past tense "ser" with present tense "manejando"?

No. Ser no se usa con el gerundio (por lo general).

Or does everything in the sentence have to be past tense?

You only have one verb with tense (estuvo) in your sentence, so I'm not sure what "everything" means.

By everything I believe the poster is referring to "manejando".

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By everything I believe the poster is referring to "manejando".

Actually for me, I think Vance didn't ask the question clear. That's why you guys got confused.

As the title, it seems like Vance wanted to know the difference between past imperfect tense and past pretérito tense. However, he was asking if "ser" or "estar" could be used in past tense and they could be used with present participle verb tense.

"Manejando" is the present participle verb tense of "manejar". As James mentioned above, it is used with "estar", not "ser" if you would like to express something that happened in the past. Of course, "imperfect" and "pretérito" are different.
James has given the examples and explanations.

Having clear question would be much better for people to reply and answer. smile

Thank you,

Marco

0 Vote

Thanks to everyone, I believe I could have done a better job with the question. However, ultimately it was answered. It may have been bettr phrased like this. Can I do this...
...estoy hablando...
...estaba hablando...
....extaré hablando...
...he estado hablando...
(any spelling mistakes are putly mine.)
Vance

0 Vote

Thanks to everyone, I believe I could have done a better job with the question. However, ultimately it was answered. It may have been bettr phrased like this. Can I do this...

...estoy hablando...

...estaba hablando...

....extaré hablando...

...he estado hablando...

(any spelling mistakes are putly mine.)

Vance

You omitted the one that you were discussing. (see James' note)
estoy hablando
estaba hablando
estuve hablando
estaré hablando
estaría hablando
he estado hablando
...

Also according to James there is no era hablando (Ser-imperfect) or fui hablando (ser, preterite). See my separate post asking about that.

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