Past Imperfect

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I'm learning past imperfect and I remember this lyric from a song.

Como iba yo a saber, que ya no me querias

I think it says "how could I have known that you didn't love me anymore." Or does it say "....that you already didn't love me" ?

My other question is: I don't understand how the first part breaks down, especially the "iba" part since that's past imperfect of IR (to go). Why isn't it "Cómo sabía"?

Thank you!

1448 views
updated ENE 3, 2009
posted by Erin

7 Answers

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Thanks everyone!

updated ENE 3, 2009
posted by Erin
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Yes, "How was I supposed to know" or, as Erin herself said, "How could I have known" are good translations. As I said, my translation was literal so that Erin could see the construction more easily.

updated ENE 3, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
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ir+a+verb infinitive=informal future (term assigned it in our lessons)

subject+ is going to +verb
voy a hacerlo.= I am going to do it.

iba a saber
was going to know

As i was going to know (or find out)

that's not How unless it's ¿Cómo and I see neither the tilde nor the question mark.

the last word is querías (that you no longer loved me)

updated ENE 3, 2009
posted by 0074b507
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Actually, although the construction iba a + [inf] is normally translated as "was going to," this type of question with cognitive verbs such as saber to know, adivinar to guess, suponer to suppose, pensar to think, imaginar to imagine, which are normally followed by que, the meaning is closer to "was supposed to." The yo is not necessary, but is often included because the form iba is used for the third person singular as well: él iba, yo iba.

updated ENE 3, 2009
posted by Uly-Marrero
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And is the yo needed'

Well, it's a song, and lyrics are sometimes dictated more by meter than by grammar. Subject pronouns are to be used only to clarify the subject when it would otherwise be unclear, or for emphasis. Since iba could be either first-, second- (formal), or third-person, the subject pronoun is used sometimes for clarity, and that may have been the purpose here. Or maybe it just sounded better in the song.

updated ENE 3, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
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Ah ok, thank you. And is the yo needed?

James Santiago said:

It translates somewhat literally to "How was I going to know that you didn't love me anymore."

The infinitive saber is required because it is preceded by the verb phrase ir a, which requires the infinitive. The tense is conveyed by the verb ir.

>

updated ENE 3, 2009
posted by Erin
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It translates somewhat literally to "How was I going to know that you didn't love me anymore."

The infinitive saber is required because it is preceded by the verb phrase ir a, which requires the infinitive. The tense is conveyed by the verb ir.

updated ENE 3, 2009
posted by 00bacfba