HomeQ&Awhat is the difference between fue and era?

what is the difference between fue and era?

3
votes

what is the difference between fue and era? I'd like to know clearly. Thank you.

75265 views
updated MAR 19, 2017
posted by merry

8 Answers

3
votes

Basically what you are asking is what is the difference between the imperfect and the preterite past tenses?

The simple answer is that the imperfect is used with habitual actions or actions where no beginning or end is stated in the past. The preterite is "perfected" or completed actions in the past.

I've always liked the analogy they use about the imperfect being a video of past action and the preterite being a snapshot of action in the past.

Of course, nothing's that simple when it comes to Spanish grammar. That's just the basic difference. You might wish to do some research or take the appropriate lessons here to see some of the more subtle differences.

With ser a possible difference might be: I used to be ...rather than I was.....in English.

And as far as your wanting to know clearly....Wouldn't we all!

updated MAY 26, 2014
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507
3
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For this particular verb you might find it useful to use "era" for descriptions (ie. how things were) and "fue" to recount (ie. what or how things happened).

But it is down to understand the difference between imperfect and preterite, which is a distinction that we are forced to make in our language when we talk about the past; a distinction that in English is purely optional.

updated SEP 4, 2009
edited by lazarus1907
posted by lazarus1907
2
votes

Yea, as has been said, the difference between 'fue' and 'era' is really - knowing the difference between the preterit and the imperfect tenses, and THAT is a big concept to simply explain in a few short sentences.

The imperfect as qfreed mentioned can be seen as a video of a past action. As I learned it, it tells a story. You see the imperfect as a story that hasn't been given strict parameters. The preterit is more of a 'this is what happened'. A definite beginning and a definite end. The imperfect does not have these strict parameters which helps you remember its name and function. It is NOT describing a perfect action.

Yea, kinda theoretical stuff. Hope it kind of helped.

Anyway, a good way to remember that 'era' is the imperfect is to think of the english word 'era', as in 'It was a golden era'. Era, the english word describes a period of time. Not just a certain day, but an era. So you can kind of see how that fits into the 'imperfect' definition of not having a strict parameter.

Ah, I know it must be pretty confusing. I know it was a bit daunting for me when I was first learning it. I didn't even know there were 2 different kinds of past tenses. I was like 'What??? Ahh, more cra* we have to learn, noooooooooooooo'.

-Charlius-

updated MAY 26, 2014
posted by Charlius
0
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1.“Era” is the imperfect tense of the Spanish verb “ser” while “fue” is its preterite tense. 2.“Era” is used to describe how things were or how a person was while “fue” is used to narrate an event that happened in the past and how it happened. 3.“Era” is used to serve the first person and third person while “fue” is used to serve only the third person singular. 4.“Era” is translated as “I/he/she/it used to be” while “fue” is translated as “he/she/it was.”

updated MAR 19, 2017
posted by amiesa74
Many times era is also best translated as "was" instead of "used to be" It was 1:00, he was tall, dark and handsome.. Hundreds of examples could be given, - DilKen, MAR 19, 2017
0
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I also have questions about the differences between "fue" and "era." I understand the grammar and rules behind the imperfect and preterite tenses; however, knowing all of that does not help in sentences such as these, "I was sad. IT was because my dog died." So, "Estaba triste. Fue porque mi perro murió." OR "Era porque mi perro murió." Also, if you describe going to a party or event in the past, do you say, "La fiesta anoche fue divertido." Or, "La fiesta era divertido." With general descriptions, I lean toward the use of the imperfect. But as an English speaker, I see the use of the preterite at times like these and it is very confusing! Insight on this?

updated MAY 25, 2014
posted by cnorsworthy
It's very common (grammatically correct or not) to see the imperfect and preterite used interchangeably and the sentences you gave are good examples of that. - rodneyp, MAY 25, 2014
0
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what is the difference between fue and era? I'd like to know clearly.

Unfortunately your question cannot be answered so easily.

Your grammar book will tell you what the technical differences are, but for most people it takes a long time to able to use these correctly in conversation. There is no one explanation that will magically resolve all of your doubts.

In fact, in some cases fui and era are nearly interchangeable with only a slight (and sometimes insignificant) difference in meaning.

As others have already said, the core issue here is preterite vs imperfect. My recommendation is that you pay attention to how fui and era is used in real life conversations, and start attempting to use them yourself in conversations, even if you get them wrong at first. Also be sure to find as many practical exercises to do as you can.

I also recommend you give this book a try, Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Past-Tense Verbs Up Close . It goes into really good detail about the past tenses.

And in conjunction with what I told you above, come back here and ask questions regarding specific examples, which will help you develop a better understanding of the why's and why's not.

Suerte!

updated MAY 25, 2014
posted by rodneyp
0
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@Marianne...again it goes to context which we are always talking about. If Lazarus and I were talking and he asking me if I went to the annual carnival, I would say (maybe) Si, yo fui cuando era jovencito. But him being who he is, he would understand it to mean "I used to got when I was young" (sorry if i'm putting words in your mouth, Lazarus). Now...If here were to ask me "Did you call Marianne yesterday?" I might say "Pues..yo iba a llamarle pero..." which is the difference. Again, I can't explain as well as you all can, but I hope that give you some clarity. As far that comment he made, he's talking as an educator, which I respect. But really, over dinner, I'd just say, Me fui cuando era joven and he would "fill in the blanks" as it were.

updated SEP 4, 2009
posted by ChamacoMalo
0
votes

I cannot give you a technical expanation like some of the more learned of the site, but I can give you a sentence that may provide you some clarity: Yo fui al carnival cuando era joven. Which is to say I went to the carnival when I was young.

updated SEP 4, 2009
posted by ChamacoMalo
Doesn't that mean you only went one time? If you used "iba" it would mean that you "used to go" ? - --Mariana--, SEP 4, 2009
It is not clear in that sentence whether he went once, or several times, but most people would probably assume that it happened once. - lazarus1907, SEP 4, 2009
You can always add "Fui al carnaval cuando era joven varias veces". - lazarus1907, SEP 4, 2009
Thank you, Lazarus, that clears it up. - --Mariana--, SEP 4, 2009
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