HomeQ&Apensé

pensé

0
votes

Good evening everyone. This is a question about preterite/imperfect. The conversation is bit silly but I think it serves as an example

A - What is your favouite colour?
B - Green.
A - Oh, I thought it was blue.

A - ¿Cuál es tu color favorito?
B - Verde.
A - Oh, pensé que era azul

Is this right? If so, why do we mix preterite (pensé) with imperfect (era) ?

Thank you.

1814 views
updated DIC 7, 2008
posted by patch

4 Answers

0
votes

Aaaahhh. Just when I thought I had finally grasped it!!! Oh well. Back to the drawing board...

Thanks again for your help.

updated DIC 7, 2008
posted by patch
0
votes

patch said:

I have known you for 10 years. During those 10 years I thought that your favourite colour was green. In this case is it still possible to say "pensé que era..." ? I think the answer is no. I must say "pensaba"

Durante esos 10 años pensé que su color favorito era el verde.

"Pensaba" sounds almost unacceptable here, as you are delimiting the exact time boundaries and presenting the action as fully finished in the past, which is exactly the opposite of what imperfect tense is about.

updated DIC 7, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
0
votes

lazarus1907 said:

It is right, and you can mix tenses, but natives are more likely to say:Oh, pensaba que era el azul.The article is not optional, though.

Thanks very much Lazarus. A further question...

I have known you for 10 years. During those 10 years I thought that your favourite colour was green.

In this case is it still possible to say "pensé que era..." ? I think the answer is no. I must say "pensaba"

Am I right?

Thanks again.

updated DIC 7, 2008
posted by patch
0
votes

It is right, and you can mix tenses, but natives are more likely to say:

Oh, pensaba que era el azul.

The article is not optional, though.

"Pensé" suggests a rather definite period of time during which you hold that belief, whereas "pensaba" does not have those clear time boundaries, it does not refer to any concrete episode of your life, but to something that was in your mind for an unspecified length of time. That's why "pensaba" is more likely to be used.

updated DIC 7, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
SpanishDict is the world's most popular Spanish-English dictionary, translation, and learning website.
© Curiosity Media Inc.