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Preterit Vs. Imperfect This is different than English because we consider past as one tense.
Preterit Rules Red Light
Preterit For Actions that can be viewed as single events Example: La gallina murió ayer.
Preterit For actions that were repeated a specific number of times. Example: La rana caminó a la tienda tres veces.
Preterit For actions that occurred during a specific period of time. Example: Yo estudié por diez minutos.
Preterit For actions that were part of a chain of events. Example: Yo asusté el alce americano y huyó.
Preterit To state the beginning or the end of an action. Example: Nosotros empezamos el partido de fútbol.
Imperfect Rules Green Light
Imperfect For actions that were repeated habitually. Example: Yo iba al colegio todos los días.
Imperfect For actions that set the stage for other past actions. Example: Hacía calor por la playa.
Imperfect For telling time. Example: Eran las dos de la mañana.
Imperfect For stating one’s age Example: Yo tenía seis años.
Imperfect For mental states Example: El profesor estaba enojado.
For physical sensations. Example: La estufa era calor.
Imperfect To describe the characteristics of people, things, or conditions. Example: La chica era muy fea.
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