The imperfect tense

Steven-W15

Steven-W15

Here is a question I've had for quite some time. Is there a difference between the two phrases below? Can they be used interchangeably? - "Yo hablaba con alguien." - "Yo estaba hablando con alguien."
Dan-H24

Dan-H24

I think they are interchangeable, since they both convey the same message. And as far as I know, estaba does not change meaning in the imperfect like some words do. The first is just a little more economical with words. One thing that confuses me a bit is the use of the gerund in the past tenses. It can be used in the imperfect, but not in the preterite, right?
Steven-W15

Steven-W15

A gerund. I will take a stab and say it's a small, burrowing rodent? How about a German kitchen utensil used in preparing baking goods? An impolite gesture in Swedish? "Gerund to you too, fella!" (Just kidding.) Dan, you are definitely talking to the wrong guy. Let's hope someone more highly educated than I weighs in on this...
Ava Dawn

Ava Dawn

You guys are so funny. It really makes learning fun. Now, I have to google "gerund" unless someone explains it.
Robert-C7

Robert-C7

I will take a stab at this. - "Yo hablaba con alguien." - I ate something (some time in the past) - "Yo estaba hablando con alguien." - I was eating something (some time in the past)
ricardo-rich

ricardo-rich

Hola, Hablar to talk, comer to eat. Yo estaba hablando is the past progressive. Hablaba is the imperfect but it is also saying what you were doing in the past. Saludos, Ricardo
Robert-C7

Robert-C7

Yikes, I must have been hungry when I made that last post. Here I am one more time with the help of Google Translate. - "Yo hablaba con alguien." - I spoke with someone (some time in the past). - "Yo estaba hablando con alguien." - I was talking with someone. In both sentences, it is not exact when I spoke/talked to someone, just that I did. The second sentence uses the passive voice in the English translation.
ricardo-rich

ricardo-rich

Hola Robert, Hungry, that gave me a laugh. I kinda figured you mistyped. I would use the second construction if I was saying something about what I was doing when something else happened. Por ejemplo: Estaba hablando con mi hermano cuando el teléfono dejó de funcionar. Otro ejemplo: Estaba viendo Univisión cuando me llamaste. The second example may seem to imply more of a "when" if you picked up the phone and told your friend what you were doing when he called, but in the past progressive the imperfect not the preterite is used because a progressive action is continuous. Saludos, Ricardo
Steven-W15

Steven-W15

Hola Ricardo, I'm trying to nail this down in my little head. Are you saying then that the first sentence is correct and not the second? - "Estaba hablando con mi hermano cuando el teléfono dejó de funcionar." - "Hablaba con mi hermano cuando el teléfono dejó de funcionar." If that is true, then would you only use the second construction to "paint a picture" so to speak? - "Hacía calor. Llovía. ..." Gracias, Steven
ricardo-rich

ricardo-rich

Hola Steven, I'm sorry if I was unclear and caused confusion. They are both correct. "Estaba hablando" seems to be the more common usage and it's what I would use, but again, they are both right. Saludos, Ricardo
ricardo-rich

ricardo-rich

Hola Steven y todos, I found this link which I hope clarifies what I was trying to say. Once again, I'm sorry for any confusion. https://www.rocketlanguages.com/spanish/learn/spanish-past-progressive/ Saludos, Ricardo
Ava Dawn

Ava Dawn

You guys are so ahead. Both of the sentences looks okay to me, but then I am still building on my vocabulary. Actually today, I decided to have a little notebook and go back to lesson one of the Premium. I will just write the phrases and sentences in English without writing down the Spanish translation. It's kind of like bringing the know it section in my purse. I shared this with Maria, my El Salvadoran friend. She said "whatever it takes, just try anything and everything"
Steven-W15

Steven-W15

I have never seen this part of the web site before! So what else have I missed? Thanks, Ricardo.

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