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"Cuando yo estaba en ese país, veía muchos coches."

Translation:When I was in that country, I used to see many cars.

January 4, 2013

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According to my book "501 Spanish Verbs"

Tense No. 2 Imperfecto de Indicativo (Imperfect Indicative)

This is a past tense. Imperfect suggest incomplete. The imperfect tense expresses an action or a state of being that was continuous in the past and its completion is not indicated. This tense is used, therefore, to express:

(a) An action that was going on in the past at the same time as another action.

EXAMPLE: -Mi hermano leía y mi padre hablaba. -My brother was reading and my father was talking.

(b) An action that was going on in the past when another action occurred.

EXAMPLE: -Mi hermana cantaba cuando yo entré. -My sister was singing when I entered.

(c) An action that a person did habitually in the past.

EXAMPLE: 1. Cuando estábamos en Nueva York, íbamos al cine todos los sábados. -When we were in New York, we went to the movies every Saturday. -When we were in New York, we used to go to the movies every Saturday. 2. Cuando vivíamos en California, íbamos a la playa todos los días. -When we used to live in California, we would go** to the beach every day.

NOTE: In this last example, we would go looks like the conditional, but it is not. It is the imperfect tense in this sentence because habitual action in the past is expressed.

(d) A description of a mental, emotional, or physical condition in the past.

EXAMPLES: 1. (mental condition) -Quería ir al cine. -I wanted to go to the movies.

Common verbs in this use are creeer, desear, pensar, poder, preferir, querer, saber, and sentir

  1. (emotional condition) -Estaba contendo de verlo. -I was happy to see him.

  2. (physical condition) -Mi madre era hermosa cuando era pequeña. -My mother was beautiful when she was young.


This is one of the most helpful comments I have read on the use of imperfect past tense. Thanks for that!


Your post was very helpful to me, as I have just started the past imperfect unit and had no clue what it was.


Doesn't "used to" and "would" mean the same in the translation? For example, to me "when I was young I used to walk to school everyday" and "when I was young I would walk to school everyday" mean exactly the same thing.

This is the second question where I used "would" instead of "used to" and got it marked as wrong.


Yes they can mean the same thing, if you mean it in the imperfect sense, as in someting you did repetitively in the past "when I was a child, I would play in the park every day"="cuando yo era niño, jugaba en el parque todos los día", the other use for "would" is the conditional, which would not used the imperfect. It's used to express hypothetical situations "what would you do in that situation?"="¿qué harías en esa situación?"


In my experience with spanish so far, 'used to' can at times equal 'did'

For this sentence I put 'When I was in that country, I saw many cars'. DL accepted.

It is difficult to choose from 'past' and 'past imperfect'. Yet sometimes they seem interchagable


Right, I tend to avoid "used to <verb>" and simply use the past tense in these constructions to reduce word clutter when speaking in English when the construction and context allows it (not all obviously do!)


why not "when i used to be in that county, i used to see many cars"? What triggers used to in the second clause?


Duolingo suggested "used to stay" as a translation for "estaba," then dinged me for using that translation.


Whats wrong with "..., I was seeing a lot of cars"?


I was seeing a lot of cars is not correct in English. We say I used to see or even I saw.


"I was seeing" is perfectly good English. "After he punched me I was seeing many stars." "After I ate the mushroom I was seeing large, talking rabbits." It may be the wrong tense for this translation, but the grammar is acceptable English. I'm thinking it should be accepted, but not sure whether the tense is correct for this example.


'When I was' and 'When I used to be' are interchangeable no?


Yeah, they are rejecting one of their own suggested phrases from the drop down menu :)


Those hints are not solutions, and are taken out of context. It's up to us to decide whether any of them is appropriate.


It apparently it has been corrected because that is what I used. 'When I was in that place......'26/Aug/2015. According to the "Practice Makes Perfect", the imperfect often describes how things were.


If I understand Prof. Jason (Youtube - Channel) correctly, it should be imperfect in the first clause and Preterite in the second, because the first one "sets the stage" for the second one and in this case determines the timeframe. Any ideas on that?


Both clauses are imperfect because there is no definite time period when you saw the many cars. It may have been all on one day, for example. Or some on one day and some on another.

http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/pretimp1.htm Generally speaking, the preterite is used for actions in the past that are seen as completed. Use of the preterite tense implies that the past action had a definite beginning and definite end.

<pre>Juan habló de la una hasta las dos. Juan spoke from one until two o'clock. (clearly stated beginning and end) </pre>

It is important to realize that the beginning and the end may not always be clearly stated.

<pre>Juan habló dos horas. Juan spoke for two hours. (implied beginning and end) Juan habló con la estudiante. Juan spoke with the student. (implied beginning and end) </pre>

Generally speaking, the imperfect is used for actions in the past that are not seen as completed. Use of the imperfect tense implies that the past action did not have a definite beginning or a definite end.

<pre>Las chicas hablaban en inglés. The girls used to speak in English. (no definite beginning or end) </pre>

You have now learned the basic difference between the preterite and the imperfect: The preterite tells us specifically when an action took place. The imperfect tells us in general when an action took place.


I don't know, but interesting question. Maybe some native speaking can clarify? Are both ok?


"when i used to STAY in that country, i used to see a lot of cars" should be accepted or no? (currently not)


mmm well technically "to stay" is "quedarse", so that would be a different verb altogether.


fair enough, gracias!


Can we not use 'solia ver' instead of 'veia'?


This English translation sounds a little awkward and redundant to me. I would be interested to know if the Spanish sounds the same way because of the additional context given by the first clause.


The English sounds fine to me.


I would translate it: "when I used to go to that country, I saw many cars." That was also accepted, btw.


used to!!! told you duo, you marked me wrong on the previous lesson dor saying i didn't useD to rather than 'use to'


I put "What I was in that country, I saw many cars." verbatim with the alternate English translation. Anyone else have this problem?


Why can i say : when i lived in that country???





Why i used to see and not i saw as in Spanish?


Both should be acceptable, report it if they marked you wrong.


Ohhhhhh I have started confusing!!!! there are too many conjugations I should learn and memorize. My question is do Spanish people use all these conjugations in the streets?


Coches are strollers in some countries!! Not cars. Cars are CARROS!

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