HomeQ&AImperfecto vs Estaba + Gerundio

Imperfecto vs Estaba + Gerundio

2
votes

When you use the imperfecto and when should you use estaba + gerundio?

For example:

Estaba viviendo en españa

vs

Vivía en españa

Both of these could be translated as "I was living in Spain" (I think), but I don't understand when to use each.

Any help much appreciated!

Rangi

15392 views
updated ABR 21, 2016
posted by Rangi

7 Answers

2
votes

Cuando Inglaterra ganó la copa mundial estaba viviendo en Londres o estaba tabajando en una fabrica de chocolate, that is what you were doing when a certain event took place.

Antes vivía en Manchester ahora vivo en Barcelona.

updated ABR 21, 2016
posted by kenwilliams
Thanks! This answered a really confusing topic for me. - grantcurell, ABR 21, 2016
3
votes

Someone has put a paper on exactly this topic on the web:

here

You can read it if you like seeing phrases like "morphosyntactic marking" and "productive discursive device". Otherwise, they basically say that the past progressive corresponds to a subset of what the imperfect can mean, but some people attribute a slightly different emphasis in meaning to it in some cases.

updated ABR 14, 2011
posted by lorenzo9
Good link. - samdie, ABR 14, 2011
3
votes

They are essentially the same. Estaba + gerundio can be used to speak of something that was being done in a specific moment, but there is really no discernible difference

updated OCT 12, 2009
posted by Rcooper
Isn't imperfecto used a lot more? Is it at all common to use estaba + gerundio in that way? - Jason_Bryant, OCT 9, 2009
2
votes

Estaba hablando cuando él llegó. En este caso el locutor da énfasis en el hecho de que la acción del habla se interrumpe. Al llegar su amigo dejó de hablar. Hay enfasis solo en la frase 'estaba hablando´´

Hablaba con cuando él llegó. El locutor da enfasis a la llegada de la persona. No le interesa que nos informe si dejó de hablar o si siguió

updated ABR 14, 2011
posted by moremagdam
http://www.elearnspanishlanguage.com/grammar/verb/pastprogressive.html - lorenzo9, ABR 14, 2011
1
vote

Estaba hablando con mi amiga cuando él llegó.

Hablaba con mi amiga cuando él llegó.

Both are used. I like to use the first one...

updated OCT 12, 2009
edited by NikkiLR
posted by NikkiLR
0
votes

This post is very interesting as I have been wondering the same thing.

I find Estar in the imperfecto + gerundio (estaba etc. + gerundio) a lot easier to use in conversation than trying to remember the conjugations of the imperfecto, so I hope we arrive at a correct answer.

updated ABR 14, 2011
posted by caza
0
votes

Estaba viviendo en españa vs Vivía en españa

Isn't the first one "I was living in Spain (for an indefinite period of time in the past)" and the second "I lived in Spain (for an indefinite period of time in the past)"?

updated ABR 14, 2011
posted by DR1960
or "I used to live" - ian-hill, ABR 14, 2011
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