Preterite or Imperfect Past?

stepchook March 9, 2017, 10:56 pm
Ok, perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself, since I've only been learning Spanish for three weeks but I recent watched a "Light Speed Spanish" YouTube video, where Gordon explains four ways to say "was" (https://youtu.be/DU8SXfKF-O4). The way he explains it is brilliant but then, in one of the Rocket Spanish lessons, a sentence has got me confused!

So, which is correct:

1) Me corté la mano con el cuchillo. 
2) Me cortaba la mano con el cuchillo.

Any takers?
 
Preterite or Imperfect Past?
stepchook March 10, 2017, 12:23 am
My feeling is that the verb should be conjugated in the preterite (corté) (rather than the imperfect (cortaba)), since it was a single event that happened: I cut my finger. I didn't do it multiple times (thankfully!), even though I don't say exactly when I cut it. It could have been today, yesterday or five years ago. So even though I don't specify an exact time when the event occurred, it is reasonable to assume that the event was completed.

Is my rationale correct?

 
Preterite or Imperfect Past?
ricardo-rich March 10, 2017, 4:33 am
Hola  Steve,

Not sure which lesson this refers to, but my take is if  I was asked what happened to your hand ? I would say me corte la mano. Íf  discussing a past job as a cook etc. I agree, me cortaba la mano. Seems like your rationale is correct. Did you watch the LIghtSpeed video about "se" ?

Saludos,

Ricardo
Preterite or Imperfect Past?
stepchook March 10, 2017, 9:16 am
Gracias, Ricardo. Glad I'm on the right track!

I haven't quite gotten to the "se" video yet but I plan on watching it este fin de semana
Preterite or Imperfect Past?
Dan-H24 March 10, 2017, 12:16 pm
En mi opinion, la frase debe ser en el preterito. Creo que para demonstrar la diferencia, se necesita el contexto, por ejemplo:

Cuando trabajaba en el restaurante, me corté la mano con un cuchillo y tuve que ir al hospital.

Cuando trabajaba en el restaurante, me cortaba la mano con un cuchillo  frecuentamente.

Me gusté el video de Gordon sobre "se," es muy informativo y divertido. También, encontré otro video, Leccíon 31, que explica reflexivos, recíprocos, y otro usados de "se." 
Preterite or Imperfect Past?
Steven-W15 March 10, 2017, 3:12 pm
Bien dicho, amigo – yo también iba a hablar de la importancia del contexto. Añado otro ejemplo: Cortaba las legumbres cuando me llamó alguien.

Good job stepchook in asking all these questions. I hope others follow your lead. I know Dan, Ricardo, myself as well as a few other active users here at the forum look forward to responding to them.
 
Preterite or Imperfect Past?
stepchook March 10, 2017, 8:19 pm
Gracias a todos por su ayuda. Es muy amable.

It's definitely a lot clearer to me now.
Preterite or Imperfect Past?
ricardo-rich March 10, 2017, 8:26 pm
Recuerdo que hace unos tres años Dan cortó su mano.
Preterite or Imperfect Past?
Dan-H24 March 10, 2017, 9:22 pm
¡Si, amigo! Me acuerdo este día cada vez mira a mi dedo. 
Preterite or Imperfect Past?
the-hefay March 10, 2017, 9:59 pm
Good stuff here, but why leave well enough alone? Un ejemplo más para crear confusion.  

​Mientras cortaba la mano, grité.

 
Preterite or Imperfect Past?

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