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Preterite vs. Imperfect

Terms

undefined, object
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"I lived in San Antonio for two years"
Preterite
To provide background information, such as weather and time, in which events or actions evolved or occurred in the past
Imperfect
To narrate past actions that occurred within a delimited time period or that were repeated a number of times
Preterite
"We were all waiting patiently to board the plane"
Imperfect
To describe actions in progress in the past without emphasis on when they started or ended
Imperfect
"We boarded the train very early and traveled many hours until we arrived in California"
Preterite
To narrate a sequence of completed past actions (implying that one action or even finishes before the next begins)
Preterite
"I stopped looking for work after accepting the job"
Preterite
To describe one's age
Imperfect
To express repetitive or habitual actions in the past (what one used to do)
Imperfect
To emphasize the start or completion of a past action, even, or state (physical or mental)
Preterite
"It was ten o'clock in the morning. It was very hot that day. There wasn't anybody in the airport."
Imperfect
To summarize opinions, attitudes, and beliefs about past physical and mental states, actions, and events
Preterite
To describe things or people (emotions, opinions, attitudes, or beliefs)
Imperfect
"I visited my family in Monterrey many times"
Preterite
"When I was young, out house was small, but my sister and I thought that it was pretty"
Imperfect
"Rosa used to go to El Paso a lot to visit her daughter who was living there"
Imperfect
"The trip seemed very long to me"
Preterite
"To emigrate was an important decision"
Preterite
"In 1998, I was fifteen years old"
Imperfect
"I started to look for work a week ago"
Preterite
To anticipate what was going to happen with "ir a + infinitive"
Imperfect
"I had my first interview yesterday and they offered me a job"
Preterite
"Our family was going to emigrate to the United States in 1998"
Imperfect

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