Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Verbos: Reto de Conversación

We think of something that happened in the past as being done ... over. In Spanish there are the things that were done once and are over (pretérito) and things that were done more habitually in the past (imperfecto.)

What doesn't get talked about as much is that some verbs are more likely to be one or the other. They lean.

For instance Creer/Pensar/Querer are states of mind. Saying, "I believed," implies that you no longer believe, that this belief belonged to the past and was over. But was it a one-time belief or a habitual belief? Is creer more often pretérito or imperfecto? Arrrrggghhhh!

Good reference tool

I wrestled with this one for awhile and then I found 123TeachMe Sentence Maker. Since it doesn't really matter what I think, this site let's me put in a word and it generates a list of sentences from it's database. Take creí and creía as examples.

After looking at these examples, I first noticed how interchangeable creer and pensar are. Then I noticed a slight difference in the type of actions being believed or thought about. Pretérito - believing something, an action taking place. Imperfecto - an action that might take place. However, I now believe that  which tense is used is more of a coin toss. Because thinking, believing and wanting are states of mind, unless I have a definite time indication, I'm going with imperfecto!

Creí - pretérito
Creía - imperfecto
Es más caro de lo que creí. 
It's more expensive than thought.
María creía que yo la iba a poder ayudar a limpiar la casa. 
Mary thought that I was going to be able to help her clean the house.
Al principio creí que iban a atropellar a este joven. 
At first, I thought that they were going to knock down this young person.
Creía que Juan nos traería los boletos tan pronto como los comprara. 
I thought that John would bring us the tickets as soon as he bought them.
Me compró menos libros de los que creí que me compraría. 
He bought me fewer books than (those which) I thought he would buy me.
Yo creía que María le había dado las cosas que él necesitaba. 
I thought that Mary had given him the things that he needed.
Me asusté porque creí que había un ladrón. 
It shocked me because I believed there was a burglar.
Yo creía que los muchachos iban a ayudar al señor García. 
I thought that the boys were going to help Mr. García.
No creí ni una palabra de ello. 
I did not believe a word of it.
Yo creía que ella se las dio a él. 
I thought that she gave them to him.
Nunca creí que viviría para ver esto. 
I never believed that I would live to see this.
Yo creía que María había hecho la tarea. 
I thought that Mary had done the homework.

Creer/Pensar/Querer are states of mind and I plan to use imperfecto unless I see a clear sign that it is over or someone tells me otherwise.

Dar leans toward being a finished action unless it was an ongoing series of gifts. Leans pretérito.
Maria me dio un regalo navidad.
Maria daba lecciones de canto.

Decir gave me almost as much trouble.  I think decir leans pretérito and I will only use imperfecto when it's clearly an unended situtaion.

dijo- pretérito
decía- imperfecto
Juan dijo que estaría esperándonos.
Juan said he would be waiting for us.
El cartel decía: "Recién pintado ".
The sign said "Recently painted".
Juan dijo que se sentía enfermo. 
John said that he was feeling sick.
No pude entender lo que decía. 
I couldn't understand what he was saying.
Me dijo algo en voz baja. 
He told me something in a quiet voice.
Repito lo que decía antes.
I repeat what I said earlier.
Ella dijo que viajaría a Francia. 
She said that she would travel to France.
La gente decía que la India iba a morir de hambre.
People said that India would starve.
Lo dijo por primera vez. 
He said it for the first time.
Decía que te esperaba en el aeropuerto.
I said that I was waiting for you in the airport.
Él me dijo que le iba a mandar unas flores a ella. 
He told me he was going to send her some flowers.
Le decía que volviera. 
I told him that she would return.

I love dormir ... it fits the theoretical model.
Anoche, dormí como una piedra. 
Cuando era niña, dormía bien.

Estar is another messy one. First it all it's about temporary things that are either now over (pretérito) or were habitual or ongoing (imperfecto). That's a lot of thinking for one little verb.  Most of the examples of both tenses were used with a participle: 

¿Estuviste paseando por la playa?
Were you walking on the beach? 
¿Estabas corriendo cuando te vi? 
Were you running when I saw you? 
I don't think we're the only ones confused.

Los hombres estuvieron aquí por uno minuto.
Los hombres estaban enfermos.

Fui a la tienda a comprar leche. Siempre iba a la playa en verano.
Fueron a la fiesta. Iban a la casa de su familia cada Navidad.

Pedí una manzana. Pedía una bicicleta cada Navidad.

See Creer above.  It's hard to find a "done" way to talk about past thinking.
Here are examples for imperfecto: 
Usted pensaba que nosotros estábamos de vacaciones. 

You thought we were on a vacation. 
No son tan geniales como yo pensaba.

They're not as brilliant as I thought.
"was thinking" which could be conjugated ... estaba pensando. 

Pagué la cuenta. Siempre, Rafael pagaba la cuenta.

Ayer pude caminar diez mil pasos. (was able)
Cuando era joven, podía caminar mucho. (might or could)
¿Pusiste los papeles en la mesa?
¿Siempre ponías flores en la mesa?

Ayer quise hablar contigo.
Quería más amigos

Salir leans toward pretérito.
Salimos la casa a las seis.
Si salíamos temprano, íbamos al café a platicar con los amigos.

Se sintió sorprendido cuando todos empezaron a cantar.
Se sentía triste en las bodas.

No comments:

Post a Comment