Status verbs: usually in the imperfect.
Some verbs express action (run, study, eat); others express states (want, have, can). In the narration of a past event, verbs describing states or ongoing condition are usually conjugated in the imperfect tense.
- Rolando; sabias la respuesta de la cuarta preguanta?
- Sabia una parte pero no todo.
- Que querias hacer?
- Queria ir al cine.
- Por que no podia sir?
- Porque no tenia dinero.
|State verbs : when used in preterit, change of meaning of the verb in English.When Spanish speakers use state verbs in the preterit , they usually do so to convey that the state came to anEnd. English speakers often use completely different verbs to express that meaning . Examples:-Supiste lo que les paso a Laura ? Did you find out/hear what happened to Laura ?
-No, no supe nada. Que les paso ? No, I didn’t hear anything. What happened to her ?
-Por que no pudiste terminar ? Why didn’t try to finish as I became very tired.
|Compare the English equivalents of the following “State verbs” in the imperfect and the preterit|
|Saber||Sabia||- I Knew||Supe||- I Found Out|
|No sabia||- I didn’t know||No supe||- I never knew|
|Conocer||Conocia||- I was acquainted with||Conoci||- I met|
|Tener||Tenia||- I had||Tuve||- I had/ I received|
|Querer||Queria||- I wanted||Quise||- I wanted (and tried)|
|No Queria||-I didn’t want||No Quise||- I refused (didn’t try)|
|Poder||podia||- I was able/ I could||Pude||- I could (and I did)|
|No podia||- I wasn’t able/ I couldn’t||No pude||- I (tried and) couldn’t|
Ser & estar
The verbs ser & estar are usually used in the imperfect; they are used in the preterit only when the state has explicitly come to an end within a specified amount of time.
Examples : Cuanto tiempo fuiste profesora en esa escuela ?
Estuvimos cino dias en San Blas.