• Spanish grammar
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  • 1 Spanish alphabet [0/1]
  • 2 Spanish articles [0/6]
  • 3 Spanish nouns [0/8]
  • 4 Spanish adjectives [0/17]
  • 5 Spanish numbers [0/6]
  • 6 Spanish pronouns [0/32]
  • Spanish pronoun quiz - Flashcards (Score -/-)Free
  • Spanish pronoun quiz - Type identification (Score -/-)Free
  • Spanish practice quiz - Drag and drop the pronoun (Score -/-)Free
  • Spanish pronouns in Spanish practice quiz (Score -/-)Free
  • Spanish pronoun quiz - Fill in the blanks (Score -/-)Free
  • 6.1 Spanish personal pronouns [0/15]
  • 6.2 Spanish reflexive pronouns [0/2]
  • 6.3 Spanish possessive pronouns [0/2]
  • 6.4 Spanish demonstrative pronouns [0/2]
  • 6.5 Spanish interrogative pronouns [0/3]
  • 6.6 Spanish relative pronouns [0/3]
  • 7 Adverbs in Spanish [0/18]
  • 8 Sentence structure and word order in Spanish [0/4]
  • 9 Spanish prepositions [0/2]
  • 10 Spanish tenses and verb conjugation [0/27]
  • 10.1 Present tense in Spanish (el presente) [0/3]
  • 10.2 Past tenses in Spanish (el pasado) [0/18]
  • 10.2.1 Pretérito perfecto simple (indefinido) in Spanish [0/3]
  • 10.2.2 Pretérito perfecto compuesto in Spanish [0/3]
  • 10.2.3 Difference between Pretérito Perfecto and Indefinido [0/3]
  • 10.2.4 Pretérito Imperfecto in Spanish [0/3]
  • 10.2.5 Difference between imperfecto and indefinido [0/3]
  • 10.2.6 Pretérito pluscuamperfecto in Spanish [0/3]
  • 10.3 Future tense in Spanish (el futuro) [0/6]
  • 11 Difference between "ser" and "estar" in Spanish [0/3]
  • 12 Spanish verbs [0/5]
  • 13 Gerund in Spanish (el gerundio) [0/3]
  • 14 Imperative in Spanish (imperativo) [0/6]
  • 15 Passive in Spanish (voz pasiva) [0/3]
  • One of the common mistakes made by students is the difference between the Pretérito perfecto simple (Indefinido) and the Imperfecto.

    For many students it is difficult to know when to use the indefinido or the imperfecto, as they both refer to actions in the past. The following table summarizes the uses of both tenses to help you making the right choice.

    Use of Indefinido and Imperfecto

    Pretérito perfecto simple (Indefinido) Imperfecto

    For actions that took place in the past

    Ellos se casaron el mes pasado. (They got married last month)

    For habits or repeated actions in the past.

    Yo veía a mis primos todas las semanas. (I used to see my cousins every week).

    For actions completed at a definite moment in the past

    Bailé mucho anoche (I danced a lot last night)

    For specific actions or events in the past.

    El parque tenia 3 bancos. (The park had 3 benches)

    For  series of actions or events completed in the past.

    Entraste, miraste a tu padre y le diste un abrazo. (You entered, looked at your father and hugged him)

    To describe people or states of indefinite duration in the past with no reference to its beginning or end.

    Su hermano era alto. (His brother was tall).

    For actions that, because of their nature, are not usually repeated such as to get married (casarse), to turn a specific age (cumplir años),to realize something (darse cuenta de), to decide (decidir), to graduate (graduarse), to die (morir), etc.

    La hija de  Ana nació en ese hospital (Ana’s daughter was born in that hospital).

    To express age in the past

    Mis abuelos tenían 80 años. (My grandparents were 80)
    /

    To express time in the past

    Eran las 6. (It was six o’clock)
    /

    To express a mental state or a mental action.

    Ella pensaba en su abuela. (She was thinking about her grandma)

     

    enlightenedThe pretérito imperfecto it is used in descriptions and to say what was happening or used to happen. The beginning and ending of the actions in Imperfecto is not specified. On the other hand, the pretérito Indefinido it’s used to talk about completed actions in the past or actions completed at a definite, specific moment in the past

    Comparison of time markers

    Imperfecto Indefinido
    Generalmente / normalmente (generally) De repente (suddenly)
    Siempre / nunca (always/never) Finalmente (finally)
    Todos los días /meses /años (every day/ month/ year) El mes pasado (last month)
    De vez en cuando (from time to time) Anoche (last night)
    Antes (before) Ayer (yesterday)
    Mientras (while) Entonces (then)
    Cuando era joven(When I was young) En 2011 (in 2011…)

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    Meaning changes in imperfecto and indefinido

    The meaning of some verbs changes depending on the time in which they occur. Therefore, it is important to know what you want to express in order to choose the right tense.

    Conocer (to know)

    Imperfecto Indefinido

    To know something well:

    Mi amiga se conoce la ciudad al dedillo.

    (My friend knows the city very well)

    To meet for the first time:

    Le conocí en un centro social.

    (I met him in a social center)

    Saber (to know)

    Imperfecto Indefinido

    To know something:

    No sabíamos que el trabajo era tan duro.

    (We didn’t know that the job was that hard)

    To know about something:

    Supimos del hotel por un amigo.

    (We knew about the hotel because of a friend)