PhillipsCurve213
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Hey,

I am a second year Spanish Student at the University of Strathclyde. Just to give a bit of background, at school I did one year of Spanish, and the school taught me how to pass the exam without teaching much Spanish. I passed and got into Uni, where in my first year I was placed in the advanced class. Without knowing much of anything (the grammar etc.) I passed as well. However, this year is a totally different ball game, I'm finding that i cannot just revise for the exam and that i actually need to know the stuff.

One area of Spanish that i am having extreme difficulty with is distinguishing when to use the Tres Pasados: the Preterito Perfecto, Indefinido and Imperfecto.

Can someone who is good at Spanish able to explain to me the difference between the 3 and when to use each one, giving examples. I know the basics, but not when there isn't obvious markers that signify the use of a tense, (e.g I know to use the preterito perfecto when there's words like ya).

Cheers
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Anna Schoon
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(Original post by PhillipsCurve213)
Hey,

I am a second year Spanish Student at the University of Strathclyde. Just to give a bit of background, at school I did one year of Spanish, and the school taught me how to pass the exam without teaching much Spanish. I passed and got into Uni, where in my first year I was placed in the advanced class. Without knowing much of anything (the grammar etc.) I passed as well. However, this year is a totally different ball game, I'm finding that i cannot just revise for the exam and that i actually need to know the stuff.

One area of Spanish that i am having extreme difficulty with is distinguishing when to use the Tres Pasados: the Preterito Perfecto, Indefinido and Imperfecto.

Can someone who is good at Spanish able to explain to me the difference between the 3 and when to use each one, giving examples. I know the basics, but not when there isn't obvious markers that signify the use of a tense, (e.g I know to use the preterito perfecto when there's words like ya).

Cheers
Indicative past tenses in Spanish work pretty much the same as in English, with a few exceptions. Have a look at these:

Compound past tenses:

I have done - he hecho
I had done - había hecho

I was doing: estaba haciendo

Simple past tenses:

I did - hice (used for one-off events in the past, or events that have (or could conceivably have) a time limit or a date)
I did - hacía (used for descriptions of character or of physical characteristics, and for repeated actions in the past)

You need to watch out with tense use with structures like desde hace (since) in which, in English, we would use a perfect - "I have lived here for two years" but in Spanish you use a present because it's not a completed action in the past: Vivo aquí desde hace dos anos / Llevo dos anos viviendo aquí.

But otherwise the tense you use in English will be a good guide to what you need in Spanish.

Hope that helps!
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PhillipsCurve213
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(Original post by Anna Schoon)
Indicative past tenses in Spanish work pretty much the same as in English, with a few exceptions. Have a look at these:

Compound past tenses:

I have done - he hecho
I had done - había hecho

I was doing: estaba haciendo

Simple past tenses:

I did - hice (used for one-off events in the past, or events that have (or could conceivably have) a time limit or a date)
I did - hacía (used for descriptions of character or of physical characteristics, and for repeated actions in the past)

You need to watch out with tense use with structures like desde hace (since) in which, in English, we would use a perfect - "I have lived here for two years" but in Spanish you use a present because it's not a completed action in the past: Vivo aquí desde hace dos anos / Llevo dos anos viviendo aquí.

But otherwise the tense you use in English will be a good guide to what you need in Spanish.

Hope that helps!
Thank you for your help there. I think this will be a problem for as long as I learn Spanish. I find it easy when the examples are the 1st person, but as soon as we move between the subjects and given a paragraph and verbs missing to conjugate its a totally different ball game though. Nevertheless, thanks for trying to explain to me!
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Anna Schoon
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(Original post by PhillipsCurve213)
Thank you for your help there. I think this will be a problem for as long as I learn Spanish. I find it easy when the examples are the 1st person, but as soon as we move between the subjects and given a paragraph and verbs missing to conjugate its a totally different ball game though. Nevertheless, thanks for trying to explain to me!
I'm not sure I understand what kind of exercise you're doing. Could you please post an example? I might be able to show you a few techniques to help you.
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