Spanish Preterit vs Imperfect
The preterit is used when referring to actions that were completed in the past. The imperfect is used to denote an action that took place in the past, but the specifics of the timeframe are left up in the air.
As we have discussed, the Preterit Tense is used to talk about what we will refer to simply as a “one and done” action in the past tense. The Imperfect Tense is used to talk about what we will refer to simply as “over and over” actions done in the past tense.
There are key words that you can look and listen for that will tell you whether to use the Preterit or Imperfect. Let’s check them out…
|Ayer (yesterday)||A veces (sometimes)|
|Anoche (last night)||Cada día/semana/mes (every day/week/month)|
|Anteayer (the day before yesterday)||De vez en cuando (from time to time)|
|Esta mañana/tarde (this morning/afternoon)||Frecuentemente (frequently)|
|Hace un día/mes (one day/month ago)||Generalmente (generally)|
|La semana pasada (last week)||Nunca (never)|
|El mes pasado (last month)||Siempre (always)|
|El año pasado (last year)||Todo el tiempo (all the time) Todos los días (every day)|
Now that you know these words and phrases, choosing between Preterit and Imperfect will be a breeze!
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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.