Cuba before the revolution - imperfecto o preterito?

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by Magacita, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. Magacita Senior Member

    English- Canadian
    I wrote the below trying to describe the situation in Cuba before the revolution. I wrote it all using the imperfecto, is this correct or should I use the preterito because it is a completed past? I am not looking for someone to completely correct this for me I would simply appreciate some guidance!


    Antes de 1959 el papel de las mujeres en la sociedad cubana era muy similar de otras mujeres en las sociedades patriarcales de Latinoamérica. Había gran división de los papeles entres los hombres y las mujeres por la casa y el público. El rol de la mujer era esposa y la persona que se quedaba cuidando la casa y los hijos, era subordinada a su marido (Women in Cuba). Las mujeres tenían pocos derechos y transigían muchos para el beneficio de sus familias. Además, aunque había leyes que prohibían al maltrato de las mujeres, en realidad no tenian mucho apoyos de las policías ni del sistema legal en general (Women in Cuba).



     
  2. Mauro_Leo Member

    Spanish
    1.- Hay algunos articulos que tienes que cambiar.
    2.- Tomaste erroneamente la traduccion de Husband and Wife.
    3.- Hay una oracion que no tiene mucho sentido...,
    4.- Hay tambien un error en la conjugacion del numero del verbo y del sujeto.
    5.- Tienes una muy buena gramatica en cuanto se refiere a orden de las palabras (syntax), solo tienes pequeños errores en lo que se refiere a el de ciertas palabras con respecto a la funcion que cumplen en la oracion (semantica).
    6.- Dime estas estudiando Español?
     
  3. Justham Senior Member

    Salt Lake City, UT
    USA-English
    This is really a grammatical question rather than a vocabulary one, but here goes.

    It is a common misconception that the imperfect describes actions that are somehow not completed or not completly in the past. (Stems from poor teaching, imho.) It's rather about how the speaker is looking at the past actions/events. When you focus on the action as it was happening or used to happen in the past, that's imperfect. The event/action definitely had a beginning and an end, the speaker just doesn't care about that. It can be one action --she was getting out of the car-- or it can be a chain or series of discreet, completed events that were repeated--she would get/used to get/always got out of the car. So you can also see that you can't rely on the English "simple" past tense alway translating as preterite. Imperfect describes what was going on, sets the stage for what else happened in the past, describes the state of things in the past (as in your paragraph), or recalls habitual actions of a time past. Look for clues like would always, used to, was xxxx-ing.

    When the speaker is viewing the completed event/action as an irreductible single event/action, that's preterite. The dog jumped on her. I ate the whole thing. I was in Spain. It doesn't matter what the duration of that action/event was (how long it took me to eat or how long I was in Spain); it is viewed as a single, indivisible whole--beginning, middle and end all rolled together.

    Every time she got out (imp) of the car, the dog jumped/would jump (imp) on her.
    As she got/was getting out (imp) of the car, the dog jumped (pret) on her.

    Hope that helps!
     

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