HomeQ&AWhat is the difference of using Preterito Imperfecto and Preterito Indefinido ?

What is the difference of using Preterito Imperfecto and Preterito Indefinido ?

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What is the difference of using Preterito Imperfecto and Preterito Indefinido ?

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updated MAY 29, 2010
posted by Cazza
Bienvenida al foro. Welcome to the forum. - 0074b507, MAY 24, 2010

1 Answer

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The preterite (aka Pretérito Indefinido) is used to describe completed actions in the past.

The imperfect is used for ongoing past actions. These actions tend to be interrupted by another action.

I read a good explanation once that likened the two tenses to something being acted out on a stage.

The imperfect sets the stage

'Cuando trabajaba in españa' - 'When i was working in spain'

and the preterite is the action or what happened on that stage

'fui a un concierto' - 'I went to a concert'

This is a good article too:

http://www.learn-spanish-online.de/grammar/chapter7_compound_tenses/7_4_use_perfecto_indefinido_imperfecto.htm

updated MAY 29, 2010
edited by Kiwi-Girl
posted by Kiwi-Girl
Where did the link go? I wanted to see what the 4 past tenses were. - 0074b507, MAY 24, 2010
On second thought i decided bringing the perfecto and the plusquamperfecto into the picture might just confuse things even more. - Kiwi-Girl, MAY 24, 2010
Then you mean the two past perfects (pluscuamperfecto and pretérito anterior) había or hubo + past participle. I always consider the present perfect as past tense also as it speaks of things that have happened previous to the present. - 0074b507, MAY 24, 2010
Quite right, I wasn't sure if it is really correct to say that there are 4 past tenses and there u go, as you point out the present perfect could be in there too so we're up to 5 atleast, any advance on 5 lol - Kiwi-Girl, MAY 24, 2010
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