HomeQ&AThe preterit - indefinido o perfecto?

The preterit - indefinido o perfecto?


I'm currently learning to use the preterit tenses, and wonder if there's anyone with a short explanation of when to use pretérito indefinido and when to use pretérito imperfecto?

updated MAR 18, 2010
posted by ThereseM
your title should be: indefinido o imperfecto? The pretérito indefinido is "perfected" - 0074b507, MAR 18, 2010

2 Answers


Comparing The Preterit (Pretérito) and The Imperfect (Imperfecto)

Preterit – Pretérito
(Past - Completed)
?Imperfect – Imperfecto
(Past - Continuous)
-----------------------------------------------------? -------------------------------------------------------------
This tense expresses an action in the past that was completed at some time in the past.
The specific past actions will have been performed
(1)- at a fixed point in time
(2)- a specific number of times in the past
(3)- during a specific amount of time in the past
?This tense expresses an action or a state of being in the past that was ongoing or continuous in the past.
The action(s) in the past will have these qualities
(1)- they took place repeatedly in the past
(2)- they were ongoing or continuous in the past
(3)- they occurred over an extended period of unspecified time in the past

This is a basic comparison. There is certainly more detail and in particular, regarding the imperfect. For the additional more detailed information and examples, see Paralee Whitmire's Reference Pages by following these links
For the preterit ----> El Pretérito , and
For the Imperfect ----> El Imperfecto

You will also find that our teacher Paralee Whitmire explains the Preterite and the Imprefect in her lesson 2.10, found here ----> Preterite & Imperfect

updated MAR 18, 2010
posted by Moe
Thank you very much! A basic was kinda what I was looking for, so I have that nailed before I get into the details. :-) - ThereseM, MAR 18, 2010
updated MAR 18, 2010
posted by Issabela
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