HomeQ&AWhat's the difference between "fue" and "era? "

What's the difference between "fue" and "era? "


whats the difference between 'fue' and 'era''? i mean in this sentence 'En general fue una noche muy agradable'' .its indefinido but in this sentence '' estos ejemplos no eran dificil'' its imperfecto .what i dont understand is in both of the sentences there are adjectives 'dificil ' and 'agradable' (volaracion) but why do we use diffrent tenses?

updated JUN 20, 2010
edited by --Mariana--
posted by esperanzaymar

2 Answers


I found a good description of Preterit vs. Imperfect.

The preterite is used:

To tell of something that happened once — Fui ayer a la tienda. (I went to the store yesterday.) Escribí la carta. (I wrote the letter.)

To tell of something that happened more than once but with a specific end — Fui ayer a la tienda seis veces. (I went to the store six times yesterday.) Leyó el libro cinco veces. (He read the book five times.)

To indicate the beginning or end of a process — Tuvo frío. (He got cold.) El huracán se terminó a las ocho. (The hurricane was over at 8.)

The imperfect is used:

To tell of past habitual or repeated actions — Iba a la tienda. (I used to go to the store.) Leíamos los libros. (We would read the books.) Lavaban los manos. (They would wash their hands.) Escribía muchas cartas. (I wrote many letters.)

To describe a condition, mental state or state of being from the past — Había una casa aquí. (There used to be a house here.) Era estúpido. (He was stupid.) No te conocía. (I didn't know you.) Quería estar feliz. (He wanted to be happy.) Tenía frío. (He was cold.)

To describe an action that occurred over an unspecified time — Lavaban los manos. (They were washing their hands.) Cuando José tocaba el piano, María comía. (While José was playing the piano, María was eating.)

To indicate time or age in the past — Era la una de la tarde. (It was 1 p.m.) Tenía 43 años. (She was 43 years old.)

updated JUN 20, 2010
posted by --Mariana--
well,''to inticate a time or age in the past '' but i have a book in which is written ''fue en lo profundo de la noche cuando ocurrió algo normal''. Fue en lo profundo de la noche, This is also a time in the past ??what about this??:S:S - esperanzaymar, JUN 20, 2010
Well it does apply, it is one specific occurance that happened (in the past) - margaretbl, JUN 20, 2010
time in the past=clock time in the past Eran las siete de la tarde. - 0074b507, JUN 20, 2010

"En general fue una noche muy agradable'' uses "fue" (the preterit of ser) because there is a clear beginning and end to the night. The night lasted a few hours and then ended.

"Estos ejemplos no eran dificil" uses "eran" (the imperfect of ser) because there is no certain time frame discussed. The examples were difficult for an undetermined amount of time.

updated JUN 20, 2010
posted by --Mariana--
SpanishDict is the world's most popular Spanish-English dictionary, translation, and learning website.
© Curiosity Media Inc.