What's the difference?

What's the difference?


Yo estaba estudiando Yo estuve estudiando

updated DIC 23, 2009
posted by sadeg

2 Answers


A simple way to explain it would be with examples.

Estuve estudiando = I was studying (but then I did something else). Estaba esudiando = I was studying (when the phone rang).

Does this make sense. One is complete (preterite) and the other incomplete (imperfect). As is often the case, the context determines which is used or what is implied.

Hope this helps.

updated DIC 21, 2009
posted by gadjetman

alt text Sadeg:

"Estuve" is the Simple Past (Preterit) tense of estar. I suppose essentially it translates as "I was".

Estaba is the Past Imperfect (Imperfecto) tense of ester. I suppose essentially it translates as "I was sort of continuously, or I used to".

To look at the differences between the Preterit and the Imperfecto click on this link and if necessary on the links it refers you to. Click here ----> link text

updated DIC 21, 2009
posted by Moe
Moe...I'm not one to challenge a response, but see my post below. :) - gadjetman, DIC 21, 2009
Gadjetman - With two responses in different formats, Sadeg has more information to help to get through the subject. There are many examples in the background Reference Pages. - Moe, DIC 21, 2009
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