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https://www.duolingo.com/hebozhe

Bad Translations of Imperfect Sentences

hebozhe
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Imperfect sentences require more context. Also, all translations of "were doing" and "used to do" should be equally correct for almost all sentences.

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6 years ago

5 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/GeorgeT
GeorgeT
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re: context, when translating to English, sometimes English simple past is best translation for Spanish past imperfect. the tutorial can't seem to deal with that level of complexity tho

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Reply6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dejo
Dejo
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I agree with GeorgeT. I found the following sentence very curious: "My uncle and his wife used to have three children". So, "used to have" implies that they no longer have them. What happened to them? Now I'm thinking maybe they're running a foster home and they used to have three children, but one got adopted so now they only have two.

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Reply6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/xiape

I have found fault with other lessons, but this lesson was pretty good.

Many of these sentences are random, and I won't try to excuse them all, but I didn't find fault with "... used to have three children" -- I'd say this if my children have moved out and are living on their own, such as in the conversation: "Have you always had an empty nest?" "We used to have three children".

However, it does seem strange to say "I used to drink yesterday" -- this is not a recurring action if it just happened one specific day. Instead, it's likely an ongoing action, and that's why the speaker used imperfect. I noticed when I answered "was drinking" for these types of sentences, I had no issues. (Though "They used to do the same thing every day." had a specific recurring time period.)

0
Reply6 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/minervs0

I agree. I was ingrained that the imperfect tense entails that one "used to" do something, therefore all the translations should be the same/equal. I feel as if "were" and "was", etc, are more for past-participle usage...not the imperfect tense

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Reply5 years ago