HomeQ&A Are there many spanish verbs that change meaning in the preterit versus the imperfect tense?

Are there many spanish verbs that change meaning in the preterit versus the imperfect tense?

3
votes

I recently encountered sentences with different meanings in the preterit tense than I expected. For example: María quiso comprar la casa.

Maria tried to buy the house. Here quiso translates as tried not wanted. Another example:

María no quiso comprar la casa.

Maria refused to buy the house. Here no quiso translates as refused in lieu of did not want. Can anyone refer me to a list of verbs with these chacteristics?

3429 views
updated JUL 12, 2010
posted by Don-Linton
Thanks for all your comments! Gracias por todos vuestros comentarios! - Don-Linton, JUL 12, 2010

2 Answers

3
votes

Conocer - preterit met - imperfect knew

Querer - preterit tried (and completed) - imperfect wanted to (may or may not have completed)

No querer - preterit refused (and didn´t) - imperfect didn´t want to (may or may not have completed)

Saber - preterit found out - imperfect knew

Poder - preterit succeeded in (and completed) - imperfect was able

Tener - preterit received, got - imperfect used to have

updated JUL 12, 2010
edited by Eddy
posted by Eddy
2
votes

Deber, saber, tener are some of the verbs that change meaning.

saber (to know a fact):

Preterite: Found out. Supe la verdad. (I found out the truth.)

Imperfect: Knew. Sabía la verdad. (I knew the truth.)

tener (to have):

Preterite: Obtained, got. Tuve el regalo. (I received the gift.)

Imperfect: had, possessed. Tenía el regalo. (I had the gift.)

Here's an article on that subject.

updated JUL 12, 2010
posted by --Mariana--
Muchas gracias, Marianne. - Don-Linton, JUL 12, 2010
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