Doesn't the fact that we use the past tense imply that the action is over (perfect)?

lostinspanish

New Member
S'pore, English
Hi Folks! Thanx for all the replies but I'm still confused. Why is "speak" in "I used to speak to her all the time last month" considered imperfect? Doesn't "last month" hint that I don't speak to her anymore (complete)?
 
  • funnydeal

    Senior Member
    Mexico / Español
    lostinspanish said:
    Hi Folks! Thanx for all the replies but I'm still confused. Why is "speak" in "I used to speak to her all the time last month" considered imperfect? Doesn't "last month" hint that I don't speak to her anymore (complete)?

    lostinspanish said:
    Hi Folks! Thanx for all the replies but I'm still confused. Why is "speak" in "I used to speak to her all the time last month" considered imperfect? Doesn't "last month" hint that I don't speak to her anymore (complete)?
    You are right "last month" indicates that the action has ended = past perfect tense.

    But I also think that the past tense in "used to" is what also indicates that you don't speak to her anymore, that the action is completed.

    I used to sleep early .... (withouth additional information)
    Solía dormir temprano


    Please wait for other suggestions
     

    Rebecca Hendry

    Senior Member
    United Kingdom - English
    lostinspanish said:
    Hi Folks! Thanx for all the replies but I'm still confused. Why is "speak" in "I used to speak to her all the time last month" considered imperfect? Doesn't "last month" hint that I don't speak to her anymore (complete)?
    You use the imperfect here because it was something you used to do regularly, not just a one-off.

    If it was "I spoke to her last month" you would use the perfect as it is a one-off and is obviously finished.

    But in your example it was a habit, a regular thing, something you perhaps did every night, so the imperfect is used.
     

    lercarafridi

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish
    lostinspanish said:
    Hi Folks! Thanx for all the replies but I'm still confused. Why is "speak" in "I used to speak to her all the time last month" considered imperfect? Doesn't "last month" hint that I don't speak to her anymore (complete)?
    Imperfection is expressed by I used –a past time still to be concluded- as you are telling a story with an extension in time; on the other hand, I spoke to her… aims at a punctual moment. :)
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    lostinspanish said:
    Hi Folks! Thanx for all the replies but I'm still confused. Why is "speak" in "I used to speak to her all the time last month" considered imperfect? Doesn't "last month" hint that I don't speak to her anymore (complete)?
    I don't think that sentence is correct. You wouldn't say "I used to speak to her all the time last month"; you'd either say "I spoke to her all the time last month", or "I used to speak to her all the time", without specifying the time.
     

    Rayines

    Senior Member
    Castellano/Argentina
    Creo que a veces la traducción depende también del contexto en que se utilice la frase. Porque nosotros solemos usar muy a menudo el Imperfecto para acciones terminadas. "Ella se enojó conmigo aunque yo iba a visitarla" (está descontado que era "siempre"). (Déjenme pensar otros ejemplos).
     
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