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How to use the Imperfect and Preterite Tense in Spanish

SECD 210 Fall 2012
by

Jessica Lopez

on 21 September 2012

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Transcript of How to use the Imperfect and Preterite Tense in Spanish

photo (cc) Malte Sörensen @ flickr For the verb "ser" The Imperfect and Preterite Tense The Imperfect The imperfect tense is used for past
actions that haven't been completed.
It's also used for description
purposes.
Think of it as "that's the way it was"
or "that's the way it went down. The verb "ser" can be tricky because in the imperfect tense, it is seen as "era" whereas in the preterite tense it's seen as "fui". Sometimes we get confused on which one to use depending on the type of sentence. The verb "ser" Pay close attention to how we use "era". How we would use "ser" in the imperfect form Abe Lincoln ERA alto. Abe Lincoln was tall. Walter ERA inteligente. Walter was intelligent. This is a description Another description. Now Here's Where it gets tricky... The preterite tense is used to describe a (past) action that is complete.
This action had a definite beginning and a definite end.
It's used for actions that are viewed as a single event, a specific event that was repeated a number of times, and for an action that occurred during a specific period of time. The Preterite An example of the verb "ser" in the preterite form. How we would use "ser" in the preterite tense Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon Neil Armstrong FUE el primer hombre en la luna The reason why this is "fue" instead of "era" is because this action has been completed. He didn't return and landed on the moon on a specific date and time. El examen FUE horrible! Ok, here's another one... The exam was horrible! Why is it "fue" and not "era"? The reason why it's "fue" and not "era" is because the test in question was given during a specific time and day. You can only take an exam once, so therefore it's considered a single action. Read the sentences in English and decide which form of the verb "ser" would be a better fit. Ready to try out what you learned? FUE or ERA? With the main focus on "el", "ella", y "usted" (he, she, you). 1. Maria was first in line for Justin Bieber tickets.
2. Jane was my best friend.
3. The movie last night was good.
4. Bubbles was my pet goldfish.
5. Neil Armstrong was bald.
6. Nat King Cole was a singer.
7. Washington was the first president of the United States.
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