Pretérito / Imperfecto_________________________ Both are past tenses that describe actions or situations that are finished with respect to the present moment. In the context of the past, however, the action or situation can be perceived as either completed or in progress. That is the distinction made by the preterite and the imperfect. Here are a few common uses of both tenses; notice how they fit into this categorization: El Imperfecto • Acciones repetidas (repeated or habitual actions) • Acciones o situaciones que se encuentran en su transcurso (events in progress) • Información de fondo (background information) • La simultaneidad (two simultaneous events) El Pretérito • Acciones que ocurrieron en un momento específico (completed actions) • Acciones con límites temporales (actions confined to time limits) • Acciones consecutivas (a series of consecutive events) • Acciones que interrumpen otra actividad en progreso (interrupting actions) Keeping this in mind, notice how the preterite and imperfect contrast when used together:
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