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Preterite vs. imperfect

Spanish makes use of a distinction between an action that happened habitually in the past and one that had a definite starting and ending point in the past. The two verb forms that communicate this information are the preterite and the imperfect.  However, it’s not always easy for native English speakers to distinguish between the two. The following strategies can help you get a better handle on when to use which tense.

Determining the appropriate tense for describing specific actions, ongoing actions, and states of being

Remembering the appropriate tense for an ongoing action and the tense for an interrupting verb

Remembering the appropriate tense to describe specific actions and background information



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