the difference between "perfectum" and "imperfectum"

Alisson Pereira

Senior Member
Portuguese - Brazil
Good afternoon

I'd like to know the difference if I say:
(If the sentences are correct)

Ik ging gisteren naar de bioscoop.

Ik ben gisteren naar de bioscoop gegaan.

Bezocht je je moeder vorige week?

Heb je je moeder vorige week bezocht?

Thanks in advance.
 
  • Peterdg

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    First: all your sentences are correct.

    Second: just like in Spanish (and perhaps also in Portuguese, I don't know): in general terms the perfect is normally used to communicate facts and the imperfect to communicate description/setting, but the official Dutch grammar (ANS) immediately gives as a remark that the uses overlap.

    "Ik ging gisteren naar de bioscoop (en ik ben gevallen)" The circumstances when I fell were that I was going to the cinema. The main information that you want to convey (ik ben gevallen) is in the perfect and the circumstance in which it happened was that I was going to the cinema (in the imperfect).

    "Ik ben gisteren naar de bioscoop gegaan". There is no additional information. The main point that you want to convey is that you went to the cinema. Period, nothing more.

    EDIT:

    As to your second example: "Bezocht je je moeder vorige week": it is perfectly correct Dutch but I cannot imagine a context in which I would actually say this. Perhaps someone else can shed some light over it?
     
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    Alisson Pereira

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Brazil
    First: all your sentences are correct.

    Second: just like in Spanish (and perhaps also in Portuguese, I don't know): in general terms the perfect is normally used to communicate facts and the imperfect to communicate description/setting, but the official Dutch grammar (ANS) immediately gives as a remark that the uses overlap.

    "Ik ging gisteren naar de bioscoop (en ik ben gevallen)" The circumstances when I fell were that I was going to the cinema. The main information that you want to convey (ik ben gevallen) is in the perfect and the circumstance in which it happened was that I was going to the cinema (in the imperfect).

    "Ik ben gisteren naar de bioscoop gegaan". There is no additional information. The main point that you want to convey is that you went to the cinema. Period, nothing more.

    EDIT:

    As to your second example: "Bezocht je je moeder vorige week": it is perfectly correct Dutch but I cannot imagine a context in which I would actually say this. Perhaps someone else can shed some light over it?

    Thank you again.
     

    Peterdg

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    So, tell me the right way to say that. (In a conversation with a friend, I don't know)
    In this case, there is no right way. Both options are absolutely correct. The only thing I can say is that I would use: "Heb je je moeder vorige week bezocht?".

    Someone else may very well use the other option.
     

    Alisson Pereira

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Brazil
    Just one thing...
    The literal translation is..

    Were you visiting your mother last week?

    Have you visited you mother in the last week?

    Did you visit you mother last week?
     

    Peterdg

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    Now you are complicating things because you introduce English structures of which one is, strictly speaking, incorrect.

    "Have you visited your mother last week?" is, strictly speaking, not correct. (I say, "strictly speaking" because it does occur in non-formal settings, but grammatically speaking, it is not correct.)

    You can say: "Have you visited your mother this week?" but not "...last week?".

    So, I don't know what you are trying to find out with your last question.
    Were you visiting your mother last week?
    This would correspond in Dutch to "Was je je moeder aan het bezoeken vorige week?"
     
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    Alisson Pereira

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Brazil
    I'll try to explain to you.

    So, in Portuguese there is no present perfect, right (I don't know if you know)
    I'm just trying to find a easy way to understand it. (I know some things you have to learn by heart)

    So far I've learned some things in Dutch like

    I was visiting my mother last week. (That has a literal translation in Portuguese)

    Can that translate in Dutch like?

    Ik was vorige week mijn moeder aan het bezoeken.
    Ik bezocht vorige week mijn moeder. (I visited my mother last week)

    Now think about this one.
    I visited my mother last week. (That has a literal translation in Portuguese)

    Can i translate that like?

    Ik bezocht vorige week mijn moeder
    Ik ben vorige week mijn moeder bezocht

    Finally, those examples are my doubts when I'm trying to translate things but I've been working on improving it

    I hope you understood my point of view at it
     

    Peterdg

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    I suspected there was no present perfect in Portuguese because it does also not exist in Galician, which is pretty close to Portuguese.

    Anyway, I suspect that in Portuguese, like in Spanish, there is also a pretérito indefinido (or pretérito simple; I don't know how it is called in Portuguese); in Spanish that would be "canté, cantaste, cantó etc". for the verb "cantar" and an imperfect which would be in Spanish "cantaba, cantabas, cantaba etc.".

    Compare the use of the pretérito simple in Spanish with the present perfect in Dutch and the imperfect in Spanish with the imperfect in Dutch.

    This is different in English: there the present perfect (I have told you) compares to the perfecto compuesto in Spanish and the simple past in English is used for both the imperfecto and pretérito simple in Spanish.

    I hope the usage of the pretérito simple and imperfecto in Spanish relates to the use of these tenses in Portuguese. I wouldn't know how to explain it otherwise.

    1) Ik was vorige week mijn moeder aan het bezoeken.
    2) Ik bezocht vorige week mijn moeder. (I visited my mother last week)

    1) translates in English to: "I was visiting my mother last week"
    2) or "Ik heb mijn moeder vorige week bezocht.

    Now think about this one.
    I visited my mother last week. (That has a literal translation in Portuguese)

    Can i translate that like?

    Ik bezocht vorige week mijn moeder
    Ik ben heb vorige week mijn moeder bezocht
    Both are possible.
     
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    eno2

    Senior Member
    Dutch-Flemish
    Ik was vorige week mijn moeder aan het bezoeken.
    That could only be used together (at the same time) with another action: Ik was vorige week mijn moeder aan het bezoeken toen....het plafond naar beneden kwam (when the ceiling came down ). But even then we would rather say: Ik was vorige week op bezoek bij mijn moeder, toen het plafond naar beneden kwam. Het is niet normaal te zeggen dat je 'iemand aan het bezoeken bent'. Je bezoekt iemand, je bezocht iemand, of je hebt iemand bezocht.

    Ik bezocht vorige week mijn moeder. (I visited my mother last week):tick:

    Ik bezocht vorige week mijn moeder:tick:
    Ik ben heb vorige week mijn moeder bezocht:tick:
     
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