Sure, but I assume vandermonde is referring to Duo's English translation of "used to find". In your context we'd translate it using the progressive "was finding" instead.
But even that sounds a bit weird - if it was really meant to imply an ongoing action, wouldn't "buscaba" fit better?
This sentence made me smile. When we were kids, our job was "spot the car for Mom!" :) She'd come out of the mall with four munchkins hanging off her cart and acres of parking lot ahead of her. Remembering the number on the light pole nearest where we'd parked - and then finding the car! - was our game before there were handheld games. :)
"I used to find the car in the parking lot after searching for a long time."
Or, adding in a couple more imperfects and using the "would" construction that Duo doesn't like to be a bit more eloquent:
"I used to lose the car in the parking lot every time I went to the supermarket. I would only find it again after wandering around for what would seem like hours."
DL sometimes includes phrases instead of complete sentences. This is most likely that. The challenge is to try to make sense out of such phrases: I used to find the car...parked on that side of the road. I used to find the car easily until they built a multi-tier parking lot to confuse me. I used to find the car by the bright orange flag on the antenna. I used to find the car with my electric key which flashed the headlights and beeped.
"I was finding the car" is clear, acceptable English. It describes what you were doing during a time in the past. And I will even go as far as to say that "I used to find the car" is acceptable English too, if it accurately describes a situation. For example, if you used to play a game where your friend repeatedly hid a toy car, then "you used to find the car."
Based on a Google Search of "encontraba el coche," se encontraba el coche seems to be more common.
"Una vez en el lugar del suceso, los bomberos inspeccionaron la zona y decidieron descender la pendiente con un sistema de cuerdas y portando el equipo de excarcelación como alternativa más rápida para alcanzar el enclave en el que se encontraba el coche."
In this case, the translation would be more like "where the car was found" or "where the car was located." It's imperfect, but clearly doesn't mean "where the car used to be" nor "where the car was being found."
I'm wondering if plain "I found the car" might be the best translation in many cases.
I used to find the car, but then I started drinking even more, so I never found the car after that.
True story: My Dad was leaving the race track on late afternoon over 50 years ago. He noticed a drunk guy trying to find his car. So, he got out some paperwork and waited in the car to see how long it took for the guy to find his car. He was there a long time. The parking lot had about 500 cars in it. The guy finally found his car when there were only two left, his and my Dad's.
This was back drunk driving wasn't regarded so harshly (as it should be - what were they thinking?)
"used to find," "used to think," etc in this section are basically equivalent to "found" or "thought" The past imperfect tenses in English seem to be able to equate the past imperfect in Spanish, but I'm pretty sure you can't translate every past imperfect English phrase directly into Spanish and convey the same meaning.
I find many of these phrases to be awkward in this section. Rarely would someone say "I used to find the car". Because if my mind has gotten bad enough to not be able to find the car....I probably don't remember that I was able to do this before. :)
I don't feel that "I used to" and "I found" have anywhere near the same meaning.
I think that DL has mistakenly labeled this section. The translation form the Spanish is "Preterite (past) imperfect), but in English we generally just refer to it as the "imperfect.' , which is a type of past. However, there is no "past imperfect" tense. There is a "past perfect" (aka "pluperfect) and an "imperfect' (AKA "Pluscuamperfecto"), and a "simple past (preterite; preterito).
https://www.thoughtco.com/spanish-uses-two-simple-past-tenses-3079930 http://spanish.about.com/od/verbtenses/a/verbtenses.htm http://www.spanish411.net/Spanish-Using-Imperfect-Preterite.asp https://www.myenglishteacher.eu/blog/imperfect-tense/
There is also a Preterite Perfect tense in Spanish. But it is used in literature or historical accounts, but not in current-day speech or modern writing.. https://www.thoughtco.com/using-the-preterite-perfect-tense-spanish-3079936
Yes you are correct. I have learned that because in English we only have one past tense conjugation, we often have to resort to adding additional words to get our exact meaning across. I am am sure you have noticed this with other translations besides the imperfect Indicative tense.
Look at these sentences in English. All three could be translated the same way in Spanish.
I walked on Sundays. I would walk on Sundays. I used to walk on Sundays.
(Yo caminaba los domingos.)
All three sentences convey that the action is "incomplete;" it doesn't have a specific beginning or end. Because the imperfect is used there is not a definite time frame to these actions, we're indicating that when they began and when (or if) they ended is unknown or unimportant
So, yes, 'would' is an acceptable translation. "Would" does not always trigger the conditional.
You are absolutely correct. "Would" can be completely appropriate for an imperfect.
I tried that and it said it was wrong. It said that I should have written "I discovered the car." Well, it is Columbus Day but I don't think I actually have discovered a car since I was about 2 years old...maybe walking in an unlighted parking lot on a moonless night, but that was more a "tripped over a car" moment.
Dulingo broke you! Stop thinking of the imperfect only as "used to..." It can mean that but it is so much more. This sentence makes far more sense when translated as "I was finding the car" or just "I found the car." I never even thought to translate the imperfect as "used to" until Duolingo forced it on me.
You need to leave Duolingo to get some real understanding of the past tenses: http://spanish.about.com/od/verbtenses/g/imperfect.htm
I would be careful with that translation though, it probably COULD be translated into the the imperfect tense, but it would have to have some very obscure context. Something like...
"My grandfather had Alzheimer's, he lost the car on a regular basis. I found the car".
But as a stand-alone statement, "I found the car" is definitely the preterit tense. So just be careful.
I thought that the imperfect was used for " was finding", "used to find", etc. but also used (almost) interchangeably with the preterite "found"...it seems that the spanish speakers i know use the imperfect MORE than the preterite to express things that happened in the past but I am not good enough at spanish to know if there is a subtle difference in what they are conveying....do you think they are saying/meaning something different than the preterite meaning ( ie found) when they use the imperfect? Thanks.
It is hard to use a tense that doesn't exist in English. So, the sentence is in a past tense we don't use and to express that meaning of the imperfect is usually hard. The imperfect tense has no beginning and no completed end in time. So in this sentence, we do not know when it took place except some time in the past. This is the main concept of the Spanish imperfect tense.
Translating as 'used to' is overused by Duo, especially when we don't have context. So to translate it into English as 'i found the car' is ok because we don't have the imperfect tense in English We have a simple past. You also could translate it as 'I would fine the car'. Or, you could translate 'I was finding the car'. IMHO, I think these sentences need more context for us to understand the imperfect tense.
Also, HERE IS MORE INF You will see more examples.
It's not nonsensical, only lacking context.
My little brother used to have a favorite toy when he was small. It was a racecar, and he would take it with him all around the house. But, he was also very forgetful, and would leave it in all kinds of strange places. When he realized it was missing, I used to find the car for him so that he would calm down .
Sometimes in Spanish, encontrar is used to mean "look for". In English, we only find something when we have located it, but in Spanish you can say that you are "finding" it. Hence, a correct solution to this sentence that should be accepted is "I was looking for the car".
...until the parking lots became so big and all the cars looked so alike