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Había/Hubo with respect to time

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by allelopath, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. allelopath Senior Member

    English - US
    Are the following uses of Había/Hubo correct?

    Había un zorrillo en la choza ayer.
    There was a skunk in the shed yesterday.

    Hubo un zorrillo en la choza en la mañana.
    There was a skunk in the shed in the morning.

    I understand that preterite should be used with a specific time period, but I guess I'm not sure what a specific time period is.
  2. micafe

    micafe Senior Member

    United States
    Spanish - Colombia
    In this sentence both tenses are used. There's a slight difference, almost non-existent. To me, the imperfect is more commonly used, though.

    You could say "había un zorrillo en la choza en la mañana/esta mañana" and "hubo un zorrillo en la choza ayer". It has nothing to do with the fact that the action took place yesterday or this morning.

    When there are two actions taking place at the same time, the imperfect is normally used: "Había un zorrillo en la choza ayer/esta mañana cuando yo estaba barriendo el piso".

    The preterite is used when the action takes place in a specific length of time and is already finished.
  3. allelopath Senior Member

    English - US
    Gracias, eso es más claro.
    Thanks, that is clearer.
  4. Cenzontle

    Cenzontle Senior Member

    English, U.S.
    Reading your sentence beginning with "Había...", I expect it to be followed with "y..."—to add some action that happened during the presence of the creature
    (the "two actions" suggested by micafe).
    Beginning with "Hubo...", I expect that—for purposes of your story—the presence of the skunk is over, but you mention it to explain the residual stink, for example.

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