Antes de Descartes, la teoria (trato (preterito) O trataba) de...

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This is a grammar question about how to say that the previous theory dealt with something. I don't know whether to use the preterite or the imperfect past tense because the previous theory lasted a long time although it was temporary.

Este es una pregunta gramatical sobre como se dice que la teoria previa (trato -o- trataba) de algo. No se si debo de usar el preterito o el pasado imperfecto porque la teoria previa duro por un tiempo largo aunque ya no es actual.

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updated NOV 11, 2009
posted by Maureen-Early
I'm not trying to say what the theory was but how it deals with different subject matter than that of Descartes.

3 Answers

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"Tratar de" is the proper verb when talking about the subject the theory dealt with. It should be in the imperfect because it is not describing an action completed in the past.

updated NOV 11, 2009
posted by lorenzo9
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Based on your comment, I think it has to be:

"Antes de Descartes, la teoría era....."

updated NOV 11, 2009
posted by 00e657d4
Si, lo mismo he dicho yo...de todas formas no sé cómo se puede decir que la frase entera no ayuda...en fin , paciencia...;);)
I'm sorry, but I'm trying to say that the theory "dealt with" something, not that it "was" something. I thought this might effect what verb tense to use.
If you need a whole sentence, just stick "algo" at the end.
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HI Maureen, welcome to the sitesmile

Can you post the whole sentence?

In the short one above I would use

La teoría de Descartes era .....

updated NOV 11, 2009
posted by 00494d19
Hi, I don't know how the rest of the sentence would help. My question is just about which verb tense to use. Also, I'm talking about the theory *preceeding* that of Descartes and want to note how it deals with different subject matter than that of D.