have a good time at dinner

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aedude94

Senior Member
English United States
When would you use pasaba (and the other imperfect forms of pasar)? It seems kind of uncommon to me! If you were to say "Did you have a good time at dinner?" using pasar un buen rato for the expression to have a good time, would you use pasó or pasaba and why? Thanks so much!
 
  • jjny76

    Senior Member
    USA/English
    When would you use pasaba (and the other imperfect forms of pasar)? It seems kind of uncommon to me! If you were to say "Did you have a good time at dinner?" using pasar un buen rato for the expression to have a good time, would you use pasó or pasaba and why? Thanks so much!
    Hey aedude,
    I'm not a native speaker, but here goes my take on this.

    I believe both are correct. Here is how they sound differently to me:

    ¿Pasó un buen rato anoche?
    Simple question asking if you had a good time last night with the idea that it is over. Last night you had a good time and that's it.

    ¿Pasaba un buen rato anoche?
    Structured this way makes me think the sentence might not be finished. In other words if someone said to me - ¿Pasabas un buen rato anoche? I might think they wanted more information (or they want to know if I was having a good time when something else happened. Perhaps "were you having a good time last night when I called? - ¿Pasabas un buen rato anoche cuando te llamé"). It feels like some other action is hanging in the air. This structure also brings me back to last night whereas the use of the preterite keeps me in the present.

    Again I'm not a native speaker, but this is how it sounds to me.
    Espero que esto te sirva. Si no, por favor dime para que pueda tratar de aclarar.

    Saludos
     

    Linafel

    Member
    España, español
    Yes, jjny76 got it almost right.

    The Pretérito Perfecto Simple ("pasó") is used to talk about the past. "¿Pasó un buen rato anoche?" is a question referring to all the event that happened last night (I guess someting happened, didn't it? a party, a meeting...). It refers to a point in the past (well, this a lang point :) ). It is very similar to Present Simple.

    Pretérito Imperfecto ("pasaba") refers to an action that continues for a determined time or that was happening when other action started. So "¿Pasaba un buen rato anoche"? is more likely to mean in a moment whensomething occurred: I came to talk to you, I called you (as jjny76 says), etc. This verbal tense, in this case, is very much like Past Continuous (but not always).

    I hope it helps.
     

    glasgy

    Senior Member
    Spain
    The answer of jjny76 is quite correct but I would add some comments:

    - pasaba is used when you are talking about something that was happening in the past and something else happened at that time. But in that case I'd rather use estar + pasando. (It's the same in English Were you having a good time.. )
    - The sentences are correct but I would say them in another way, depending how formal they are:
    ¿Pasó un buen rato anoche? (quite formal, you are using usted)
    ¿Pasaste un buen rato anoche? (less formal, you know the person you are talking to)
    ¿Lo pasaste bien anoche? The way I would say it
    ¿Estaba pasando un buen rato anoche cuando le llamé? (quite formal, you are using usted)
    ¿Estabas pasando un buen rato anoche cuando te llamé? (less formal, you know the person you are talking to)
    ¿Lo estabas pasando bien anoche cuando te llamé? The way I would say it
     
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