If you are asked a question in the imperfect tense, do you answer in the preterite tense?

2
votes

¿Que hacía ayer a las nueve?

How do you know whether to answer in the preterite tense or the imperfect tense? I'm still kind of confused.

68410 views
updated OCT 10, 2009
posted by sharrelle04

2 Answers

2
votes

No, usually if the question is asked in the imperfect it will be answered in the imperfect.

What were you doing yesterday at 9 o'clock?

Yesterday at 9 o'clock I was doing...

If asked in the preterite you would probably respond in the preterite.

What did you do yesterday at 9 o'clock?

Yesterday at 9 o'clock I did....

That's not to say that it's improperly to answer the imperfect with the preterite. If someone asks what you were doing and you wish to tell them what you did it's perfectly correct. In other words, you use the tense according to what you wish to say: you were doing something with no definite time duration or you did something that ended there in the past.

updated OCT 10, 2009
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507
For me this is also very helpful
0
votes

I'd use the imperfect, just as in case of past continuous (What were you doing yesterday at nine? I was watching my favourite TV series ¿Que hacía ayer a las nueve? Veía la tele).

But I think it depends on the context, because if the action is short and completed, you'll need to use the preterite: ¿Que hacía ayer a las nueve? Me rompí la pierna.

You simply have to decide on the kind of action: did it last longer or was it short and completed?

updated OCT 10, 2009
edited by Issabela
posted by Issabela
I found this very helpful