Over the years I can see that those two past tenses tend to give to GCSE Spanish students a bit of a headache. Also A-Level students can´t master this properly and often get confused therefore I have done this to clarify a bit this.
If you are not a Spanish GCSE or A-Level student doesn´t matter. It is a very important to understand those two past tenses in order to be able to understand and express yourself so, don´t jump this blog and read it.
Also called “El pretérito imperfecto” in Spanish a lot of times translates as (was, were, doing (as used to do)
This can be a bit confusing and for that reason I am going to state some examples and hopefully will become a bit clear.
Before showing you any example I am going to write down 3 different verbs. As you probably already know in Spanish there are 3 conjugations. We look at the infinitive form and the endings are (-AR -ER and -IR) If all this sounds a bit strange for you, don´t worry look at the following 3 verbs below:
ESTUDIAR (As you can see “estudiar” – to study” finishes with -AR this means 1st conjugation)
COMER (As you can see “comer” – to study” finishes with -ER this means 2nd conjugation)
CONDUCIR (As you can see “conducir” – to drive” finishes with -IR this means 3rd conjugation)
Shall we conjugate those verbs?
Él, Ella/Usted estudiaba
Ellos, Ellas o ustedes estudiaban
Él, Ella/Usted comía
Ellos, Ellas o ustedes comían
Él, Ella/Usted conducía
Ellos, Ellas o ustedes conducían
I am now going to invite you to follow my following link you can see an excellent comparison and use of both Preterit and Imperfect with plenty examples.
It is also a good blog so you can practise your reading skills and understanding in Spanish. At the end of the day if you are reading this blog and you are studying Spanish you are likely to understand it.
If you need more help you can always learn more Spanish with School-e.