HomeQ&A When to use "preterito" y del "Imperfecto"?

When to use "preterito" y del "Imperfecto"?

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I have a problem with my spanish....when to use the "preterito" or the "imperfecto" term. Is there an easy way? ..I got it all wrong & I do need help!

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updated NOV 5, 2009
posted by Daniel-Boucher

3 Answers

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updated NOV 5, 2009
posted by Moe
I had hoped to add "Here is a link to my previous answer to this same question" I hope it's a help for you. The Gremlins will not let me edit my entry today. - Moe, NOV 5, 2009
mucho gracias! I'm so happy to find this site! es asombrosa! - Daniel-Boucher, NOV 5, 2009
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To add to Moe´s advice, listen to Paralee´s lesson regarding this subject.

Preterit v imperfect

updated NOV 5, 2009
posted by Eddy
I will..thanks again! - Daniel-Boucher, NOV 5, 2009
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The Imperfect is often called the Descriptive Past Tense because we "set scenes" using the Imperfect Tense. The Imperfect handles three different Past tense constructions in English:

  1. I studied at Roadstone College. (we don't know if I finished or not.)
  2. I used to study at Roadstone College.
  3. I was studying at Roadstone college.

It is important to note that we use the Imperfect to indicate we "were doing" something. In other words, we use the Imperfect to say:

I was studying last night, while Susana was watching television- Yo estudiaba anoche mientras que Susana miraba la televisión.

o Do not use the Present Progressive (Estar + "-ing") to say this.


The preterite tense in Spanish normally describes events which are both in the past and completed, or at least described as beginning in the past.

updated NOV 5, 2009
posted by Seb79
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