pretérito imperfecto

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chutz

Member
Philippines Tagalog
I'm very confused in determining whether I should use preterito perfecto or imperfecto when writing a paragraph. Below are some exercises that I did using imperfecto as I try to describe a picture. Please help me. Thanks.
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Cuando Fidel era pequeño, el estudiaba solo en la mesa de comedor mientras su madre cocinaba. (When Fidel was young, he studied alone on the dining table while his mother cooked.) Fidel podía sus libros, bolso, regla de triangulo y cuaderno encima la mesa. (Fidel put his books, bag, triangular ruler and notebook on top of the table.) Su madre estaba de pie y cocinaba la comida. (His mother was standing and cooking the food.) Ella llevaba blusa, falda, delantal y zapatos con tacón. (She wore blouse, skirt, apron, high-heeled shoes) Fidel llevaba polo y estaba sentando en la silla. (Fidel wore polo and was sitting on the chair.) La casa tenía cuadro, mesa, sillas, horno, campana extractora y cortina entre la cocina y el comedor. (The house had picture, table, chairs, oven, smoke extractor, curtain between the kitchen and dining room.)



En ese época, Fidel estaba de pie en la hierba enfrente de la iglesia. (At that time, Fidel was standing on the grass infront of the church.) El sol estaba brillando intensamente. (The sun was shining brightly.) Había arboles, pajaros y plantas. (There were trees, birds and plants.) Fidel llevaba un polo con mangas cortos, pantalón contos, calcetines y zapatos. (Fidel wore a short sleeved polo shirt, short pants, socks and shoes.) Tenía un pelo corto y estaba sonrisa. (He had a short hair and was smiling.)



Antes Fidel tenía una hermana mayor, una madre y un padre. (Before, Fidel had an elder sister, a mother and a father.) Fidel era el joven. (Fidel was the youngest.) Su hermana estaba bonita. (His sister was pretty.) Ella llevaba un vestido y zapatos. (She wore a dress and shoes.) Tenía un pelo liso y corto. (She had a short and straight hair.) Su madre estaba bastante gorda y llevaba un vestido. (His mother is quite fat and wore a dress.) Tenía un pelo rizo y corto. (She had a curly and short hair.) Su padre tenía un bigote, pelo liso y corto. (His father had a moustache, short and straight hair.) Llevaba americana, corbata, pantalón largo y zapatos. (He wore a suit, necktie, long pants and shoes.) El estaba dando el mano de su esposa. (He was holding the hand of his wife.) Los hijos se ponía los manos detrás de los hombros. (The children put their hands venid their back.) Ellos estaban de pie al lado del uno al otro. (They were standing beside each other.)
 
  • VenusEnvy

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    chutz said:
    Fidel pusó sus libros, bolso, regla de triangulo y cuaderno encima la mesa. (Fidel put his books, bag, triangular ruler and notebook on top of the table.)

    En ese época, Fidel estuvo de pie en la hierba enfrente de la iglesia. (At that time, Fidel was standing on the grass infront of the church.)

    Su madre era bastante gorda y llevaba un vestido. (His mother was quite fat and wore a dress.)

    Los hijos se ponían los manos detrás de los hombros. (The children put their hands venid their back.)
    I am not a native, so take my suggestions with a grain of salt. There were other tiny errors, but I only corrected the verb regarding their tense and conjugation.

    The only one that I saw that should be in the preterite was the second one. It was the only one that cited a specific time period. The others seemed to be embedded in a story about something that was happening in the past.

    (I'll wait for natives to confirm or disagree...)
     

    josama

    Senior Member
    Colombia, Spanish
    chutz said:
    I'm very confused in determining whether I should use preterito perfecto or imperfecto when writing a paragraph. Below are some exercises that I did using imperfecto as I try to describe a picture. Please help me. Thanks.
    -------------
    Cuando Fidel era pequeño, el estudiaba solo en la mesa de comedor mientras su madre cocinaba. (When Fidel was young, he studied alone on the dining table while his mother cooked.) Fidel podía ponía sus libros, bolso, regla de triángulo y cuaderno encima la mesa. (Fidel put his books, bag, triangular ruler and notebook on top of the table.) Su madre estaba de pie y cocinaba la
    comida. (His mother was standing and cooking the food.)
    The translation: "Su madre estaba de pie y cocinaba la comida" is literal and, good, but it doesn't make much sense to me. It's like "Su madre estaba de pie" is at a specific moment, but "cocinaba la comida" can mean something more general...

    So, I don't know if the English version is correct. Shouldn't it be something like:

    His mother used to stand and cook the food
    Su madre solía pararse y cocinar la comida
    His mother would stand and cook the food
    His mother stood and cooked the food
    Su madre se paraba y cocinaba la comida

    ?????

    Ella llevaba (I would use "vestía", instead. Colombian way) blusa, falda, delantal y zapatos con tacón. (She wore blouse, skirt, apron, high-heeled shoes) Fidel llevaba (Same here, "vestía") polo y estaba sentando en la silla. (Fidel wore polo and was sitting on the chair.)
    "estaba sentando" is a mistake. You can say "estaba sentado", although that gives you the idea that he was sitting at a specific moment, when something happened, I mean you use "estaba sentado" for giving context to a thing that happened in a specific moment. If you want to express the idea that it was something that he used to do everyday, you should use "él se sentaba" or "él solía sentarse" (closer to "he used to sit")

    La casa tenía cuadro ("cuadros" in plural or "UN cuadro" in singular. I think you're making the same mistake in English), mesa, sillas, horno, campana extractora y una cortina entre la cocina y el comedor. (The house had a picture, table, chairs, an (I think this is optional) oven, a (I think this is optional) smoke extractor, a (I think this is necessary) curtain between the kitchen and the dining room.)

    En ese época, Fidel estaba de pie en la hierba enfrente de la iglesia. (At that time, Fidel was standing on the grass infront of the church.)
    The same problem here, but I have a problem beacause I think that with "at that time" you're refing to the epoch, to that somewhat large period of time, not to a specific moment, so, I would say: "Fidel se paraba en el prado frente a la Iglesia" or "Fidel solía pararse en el prado frente a la Iglesia"

    El sol estaba brillando intensamente. (The sun was shining brightly.) Había árboles, pájaros y plantas. (There were trees, birds and plants.) Fidel llevaba un polo con mangas cortas, pantalón contos ("pantalones cortos" o "pantalón corto"), calcetines y zapatos. (Fidel wore a short sleeved polo shirt, short pants, socks and shoes.) Tenía un pelo corto y estaba sonrisa sonriendo. (He had a short hair and was smiling.)
    Now I don't know what happened here, but it seems to me that the tense has changed. Now it seems that you're describing a specific time,not a general one. Is that right???

    Antes Fidel tenía una hermana mayor, una madre y un padre. (Before, Fidel had an elder sister, a mother and a father.) Fidel era el más joven. (Fidel was the youngest.) Su hermana estaba era bonita. (His sister was pretty.) Ella llevaba un vestido y zapatos. (She wore a dress and shoes.) Tenía un el pelo liso y corto. (She had a short and straight hair.) Su madre estaba bastante gorda y llevaba un vestido. (His mother is was quite fat and wore a dress.) Tenía un pelo rizo y corto. (She had a curly and short hair.) Su padre tenía un bigote, pelo liso y corto. (His father had a moustache, short and straight hair.) Llevaba americana (???? is this an Iberian word?? We say "vestido" or "traje" in Colombia), corbata, pantalón largo y zapatos. (He wore a suit, necktie, long pants and shoes.) El estaba dando el mano de su esposa. (He was holding the hand of his wife.) Los hijos se ponían las manos detrás de los hombros. (The children put their hands venid behind their backs.) Ellos estaban de pie al lado del uno al otro uno del otro. (They were standing beside each other.)
    Hope this helps.

    I seems that you're mixing tenses. So, that's the reason I cannot help you more with which tense to choose in Spanish.
     

    josama

    Senior Member
    Colombia, Spanish
    VenusEnvy said:
    Originally Posted by chutz
    Fidel pusó puso (sin la tilde) sus libros, bolso, regla de triangulo y cuaderno encima la mesa. (Fidel put his books, bag, triangular ruler and notebook on top of the table.)



    hugs, Venusita
     

    Mei

    Senior Member
    Catalonia Catalan & Spanish
    chutz said:
    I'm very confused in determining whether I should use preterito perfecto or imperfecto when writing a paragraph. Below are some exercises that I did using imperfecto as I try to describe a picture. Please help me. Thanks.
    -------------
    Cuando Fidel era pequeño, el estudiaba solo en la mesa de comedor mientras su madre cocinaba. (When Fidel was young, he studied alone on the dining table while his mother cooked.) Fidel ponía sus libros, mochila, regla de triangulo y cuaderno encima la mesa. (Fidel put his books, bag, triangular ruler and notebook on top of the table.) Su madre estaba de pie y cocinaba. * (His mother was standing and cooking the food.) Ella llevaba blusa, falda, delantal y zapatos con tacón. (She wore blouse, skirt, apron, high-heeled shoes) Fidel llevaba un polo y estaba sentando en la silla. (Fidel wore polo and was sitting on the chair.) La casa tenía un cuadro, mesa, sillas, horno, campana extractora y cortina entre la cocina y el comedor. (The house had picture, table, chairs, oven, smoke extractor, curtain between the kitchen and dining room.)



    En ese época, Fidel estaba de pie en la hierba enfrente de la iglesia. (At that time, Fidel was standing on the grass infront of the church.) El Sol estaba brillando intensamente. (The sun was shining brightly.) Había arboles, pájaros y plantas. (There were trees, birds and plants.) Fidel llevaba un polo con manga corta, pantalones cortos, calcetines y zapatos. (Fidel wore a short sleeved polo shirt, short pants, socks and shoes.) Tenía el pelo corto y sonreía. (He had a short hair and was smiling.)



    Antes Fidel tenía una hermana mayor, una madre y un padre. (Before, Fidel had an elder sister, a mother and a father.) Fidel era el joven. (Fidel was the youngest.) Su hermana era bonita. (His sister was pretty.) Ella llevaba un vestido y zapatos. (She wore a dress and shoes.) Tenía el pelo liso y corto. (She had a short and straight hair.) Su madre estaba bastante gorda y llevaba un vestido. (His mother is quite fat and wore a dress.) Tenía el pelo rizado y corto. (She had a curly and short hair.) Su padre llevaba bigote, pelo liso y corto. (His father had a moustache, short and straight hair.) Llevaba americana, corbata, pantalón largo y zapatos. (He wore a suit, necktie, long pants and shoes.) El estaba cogiendo la mano de su esposa. (He was holding the hand of his wife.) Los hijos ponían los manos detrás de la espalda. (The children put their hands venid their back.) Ellos estaban de pie uno al lado del otro. (They were standing beside each other.)
    The "triangular ruler" has another name that I don't remember, right now, I'll look for it! I think that it's "escuadra", someone can confirm this?

    * what else can you cook?

    Hope it helps

    Mei
     

    josama

    Senior Member
    Colombia, Spanish
    chutz said:
    I'm very confused in determining whether I should use preterito perfecto or imperfecto when writing a paragraph. Below are some exercises that I did using imperfecto as I try to describe a picture. Please help me. Thanks.
    I not comfortable with the explanation I gave you before.

    But I think you're thinking of PRETÉRITO IMPERFECTO and PRETÉRITO INDEFINIDO.

    You use PRETÉRITO IMPERFECTO when you want to describe something in the past, no necessarily related to a specific moment, but just to a more or less definite period in the past:

    Cuando yo era niño (~1-10years? ~1-13 years?), yo jugaba fútbol (here jugaba is in PRETÉRITO IMPERFECTO)

    Nosotros hacíamos las tareas, después de salir del colegio. (hacíamos, in PRETÉRITO IMPERFECTO, means that that was something we used to do after we finished classes, always, everyday, or almost everyday... the timeis not specific)

    Now look at the PRETÉRITO INDEFINIDO:

    Cuando cumplí 10 años (exactly at that time), yo jugué fútbol (here jugué is in PRETÉRITO INDEFINIDO. It means that I play soccer that specific day, when I turned 10. I had a soccer match that day)

    Nosotros hicimos las tareas, después de salir del colegio. (hicimos, in PRETÉRITO INDEFINIDO, means that that was something we did after we finished classes, today, or yesterday... the time IS specific)
     

    josama

    Senior Member
    Colombia, Spanish
    Mei said:
    The "triangular ruler" has another name that I don't remember, right now, I'll look for it! I think that it's "escuadra", someone can confirm this?

    * what else can you cook?

    Hope it helps

    Mei
    Yes,

    escuadra de 30° and escuadra de 45°
     
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