Preterit versus imperfect

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  1. The preterit...
    • narrates actions or events in the past that the speaker views as completed or finished.
    • expresses the beginning or end of a past event or action.
    • narrates completed events that occurred in a series.
    • expresses changes in mental, physical, and emotional conditions or states in the past.
    • describes weather and scenes as events or within specific time parameters.
  2. The imperfect...
    • describes what was happening in the past, usually in relation to another event or at a given time, with no reference to the beginning or end of an action.
    • expresses habitual actions or events in the past.
    • expresses time or age in the past.
    • expresses mental, physical, and emotional conditions or states in the past.
    • sets the scene (weather, activities in progress, etc.) for other actions and events that take place.
  3. Together...
    the imperfect describes what was happening or in progress with another action (in the preterit) interrupted and took place.
  4. temporal expression for preterit
    • amoche
    • anteayer
    • ayer
    • de repente (suddenly)
    • esta mañana
    • el fin de semana pasado
    • el mes pasado
    • el lunes/martes/...pasado
    • una vez
    • siempre (when an end point is obvious)
  5. temporal expressions for imperfect
    • a menudo
    • con frecuencia
    • de vez en cuando
    • mientras
    • frecuentemente
    • todos los lunes/martes/...
    • todas las semanas
    • todos los días/meses
    • muchas veces
    • siempre (when an event is repeated with no particular end point)
Card Set
Preterit versus imperfect
Preterit vs. Imperfect
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