When we talk about the time, in the past....which form should we use?
I know this is earlier stuff but I can't seem to think of it. Ahora son las cuatro de la tarde....hace treinta minutos "estaba" dos y media...? era, fue, estaba, estuvo...
I copied these notes from one of Paralee Whitmires Reference pages. Maybe they are what you are looking for.
The imperfect tense (el imperfecto) is one of the several past tenses in Spanish. It is used mainly to describe past habitual actions or to set the scene in the past.
The imperfect can generally translate to be what someone was doing or used to do.It sets the background knowledge or scenery for a story.
-- Telling Time and Dates in the Past
Era las tres de la tarde. (It was three o´clock in the afternoon.)
Era el jueves, el 9 mayo. (It was Thurday, the 19th of May.)
You can read over the whole Reference Page here:----> The Imperfect.
I hope this was your question and that I understood it.
Marianne is correct: "Era la una", but remember to go plural with "eran" any time you have "las dos" through "las doce".
If you want to say something like "It struck 1:00", you would use the preterite form of "dar"..."Dio la una" or "Dieron las dos", etc.
Use the imperfect "Eran las cuatro..."
hace treinta minutos eran las dos y media
Era la una