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https://www.duolingo.com/amonat

Which past tense to use??? (in spanish)

amonat
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I'm wondering which past tense i should use to tell my day to a friend at the end of that day. I'm tented to go with the preterito perfecto compuesto since it has a relation with the present, but... Am i right????

Thanks

3 years ago

17 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Teenage_Polyglot

I am having a little trouble understanding what you are trying to ask, but I believe you are asking what tense you should use when talking about your day. It depends. If you said "I went to the beach", you would use the preterite, but if you said "I had two whole pizzas", you would use past perfect. Hope this answered your question!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/amonat
amonat
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ok, let say that i want to say : my day started very badly. Would i say: mi dia (ha empezado/empezaba/empezo) muy mal

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/amonat
amonat
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And in: my son went to school. Would it be: mi hijo fue/ha ido a la escuela?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sebastosiano

empezó and fue.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/amonat
amonat
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thanks

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fauri13
fauri13
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It can be both. In Latin America they'll probably say "Mi hijo fue a la escuela?". In Spain it's more natural to say "Mi hijo ha ido al colegio" if it was today, and "Mi hijo fue al colegio" if it was yesterday or before (depending on the area, they use more "escuela" or "colegio", but it means the same in this sentence).

For the one above, you could say all 3, all would be correct. In Spain we usually use more the verbs in "pretérito perfecto compuesto" for today's actions, but there's no rule for that and you can use either. Note that you can only use "empezaba" if you're gonna add something more, with "pero ..." (but) or something else. If you only say that sentence, is not natural to use "empezaba".

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Apmahd
Apmahd
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In most cases, I would simply use the preterite. The preterito perfecto is usually reserved for past actions that continue up until the present (e.g. He vivido aquí desde marzo - I have lived here since March). Really, the English simple past (e.g I ate) usually corresponds quite closely to the Spanish preterite and the English past perfect (I have eaten) usually corresponds quite closely to the Spanish preterito perfecto, so If you come from an English-speaking background, you can get usually get away as a beginner with directly interchanging this pairs of tenses without making very many mistakes.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/amonat
amonat
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ok thanks, that's helping me a lot. But what about the imperfecto? it's not really used?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Apmahd
Apmahd
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It is used quite a bit. The main difference is that actions in the imperfecto "keep going" for a while, while actions in the preterito just " happened". A good example sentence showing the difference might be Yo comía (imp.) el almeurzo cuando la alarma de incendios sonó (pret.) - "I was eating lunch when the fire alarm rang".

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Apmahd
Apmahd
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That isn't to say that it is incorrect to ever say Yo comí el almuerzo, but in the example above I want to emphasize that eating lunch was in progress.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/spangineer

Actually, it's always wrong to say "Yo comé" because the correct preterite conjugation is "Yo comí" =)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Apmahd
Apmahd
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Thnks for catching that. I'm editing

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/amonat
amonat
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ok got it, thanks!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NandoPonce

i can translate what you want to say

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/amonat
amonat
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thanks but i got my answer

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fauri13
fauri13
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As I told you in another post, you can use "pretérito perfecto simple" or "compuesto". In Spain we use more the "compuesto" for today's actions, and the simple for yesterday's or before, but I think in Latin America they use more the simple on both.

Both ways are correct and people should understand both.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/amonat
amonat
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ok thank you.

3 years ago