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Thread: Imperfect or preterite? Need help!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Chester
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    Default Imperfect or preterite? Need help!

    For example: "In 2002 I didn't have a car but now I have a Clio".

    Would this be 'en 2002 no tuve coche pero ahora tengo un clio' or 'en 2002 no tenía coche pero ahora tengo un clio'?


    I have gone through all of my books and can't decide if this needs the impefect or the preterite - is there an easy rule to decide which one is used?


    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    San Pedro del Pinatar
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    Default

    Hi Carrie,

    This sentence needs the imperfect "tenía" because it's talking about an extended period in the past rather than a specific occasion.

    There is no hard and fast rule about this and there are occasions when either form would do, however a good general rule of thumb is to think about whether you are talking about a specific event or limited period in the past (preterite) or about an extended period or a period that describes the background to an event (imperfect).

    Jane

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Chester
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    Default

    Thats really helpful, thank you very much.

    Carrie

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