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Spanish 3 Notes on Preterite vs. Imperfect

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How to decide which tense to use, preterite or imperfect

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Spanish 3 Notes on Preterite vs. Imperfect

  1. 1. Uses of the Imperfect & Preterite  We use the imperfect to describe habitual or repeated events in the past.  We use the preterite to describe a particular or specific event.
  2. 2. Uses of the Imperfect & Preterite  There are certain words that can help us decide:  The imperfect is often used with expressions like:  Siempre  Los sábados  Todos los días  A menudo **These all imply repetition Always On Saturdays Everyday Often
  3. 3. Uses of the Imperfect & Preterite  The preterite is often used with expressions like:  Una vez  El sábado pasado  Un día  Esta mañana  Anoche **These imply the event happened once Once, one time Last Saturday One day This morning Last night
  4. 4. Uses of the Imperfect & Preterite  We say “used to” + verb a lot in English, to express something happened repeatedly in the past. With this, we’d use the imperfect.  Ex: Carlos used to spend (pasar) the summer in Mexico. Carlo s pasaba e lve rano e n Mé xico . We used to play tennis. Jug ábam o s alte nis.
  5. 5. Uses of the pret. & imperf.  The preterite is used to describe a well- defined action or event which happened at a specific point in time.  The imperfect is used to describe ongoing actions or events. In English, we say “was (were) +…ing”.
  6. 6. Uses of the pret. & imperf.  Examples: Cuando Carlos llamó… …yo estudiaba.
  7. 7. Uses of the pret. & imperf. Carmen llegó… …mientras nos desayunábamos.
  8. 8. Uses of the pret. & imperf. Anita sacó una foto… …de unos niños que jugaban al fútbol.
  9. 9. Preterite vs. Imperfect  The preterite is used to describe actions in the past.  El año pasado mi hermano visitó México.  Vi una escuela grande.  Vi la escuela muy bien.
  10. 10. Preterite vs. Imperfect  The imperfect is used to describe specific circumstances:  Time  Era el diez de abril.  Eran las ocho de la noche.  Weather  Hacía mal tiempo.  Llovía.
  11. 11. Preterite vs. Imperfect  Location  Yo iba por la Avenida Libertad.  Yo estaba en la escuela.  Age  El profesor tenía entre treinta y treinta y cinco años.  Physical Appearance  Era un hombre alto.  Llevaba un súeter gris.
  12. 12. Preterite vs. Imperfect  Emotional State  Estaba nervioso.  Attitude  Él quería aprender español.  Ella tenía ganas de conocer México.
  13. 13. Preterite vs. Imperfect  Note the past tense forms of hay:  Hubo una fiesta. The re was a party. (specific action)  Había muchas personas. The re we re m any pe o ple . (circumstance)
  14. 14. Preterite vs. Imperfect  When we speak in the past, it’s either a continuous or isolated action  We use the to describe ongoing actions (actions/events that were in progress during a certain period of time)  We use the to describe isolated actions (actions which occurred at a specific moment in time) imperfect preterite
  15. 15. Preterite vs. Imperfect  Translate the following sentences:  When I was a child, I didn’t speak Spanish.  Last night, I spoke Spanish with Ramón.  Julio had a CD player. Cuando era niño/a, no hablaba español. Anoche, yo hablé español con Ramón. Julio tenía un tocadiscos.
  16. 16. Preterite vs. Imperfect  Julio sold his CD player.  Anita was my best friend.  Anita left to live in México. Julio vendió su tocadiscos. Anita era mi mejor amiga. Anita se fue a vivir en México.
  17. 17. Preterite vs. Imperfect  In the summer we used to go to the beach.  Yesterday we didn’t go to the beach. En el verano, íbamos a la playa. Ayer, no fuimos a la playa.
  18. 18. Preterite vs. Imperfect To Describe: Use: A specific action or event completed in the past. Yo visité Puerto Rico. Preterite
  19. 19. Preterite vs. Imperfect To Describe: Use: The circumstances of a past action or event Cuando tenía 16 años… Imperfect
  20. 20. Preterite vs. Imperfect To Describe: Use: An ongoing past action or event Mis primos vivía en San Juan entonces. Imperfect
  21. 21. Preterite vs. Imperfect To Describe: Use: A repeated past action or event Ellos me invitaban todos los veranos. Imperfect

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