app_
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How do I use seit in the imperfect tense?

Is "Ich spielte seit 5. Jahre Tennis" the correct way? or is seit always with the present tense?

Thanks!
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lina_t
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(Original post by app_)
How do I use seit in the imperfect tense?

Is "Ich spielte seit 5. Jahre Tennis" the correct way? or is seit always with the present tense?

Thanks!
Seit usually indicates a present tense, while vor goes with the past. The sentence just sounds unnatural to me. Are you trying to say that you still play tennis or that you used to do it?
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Krokodilo
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It depends on what you want to say.

1) If all you want to say is "I played tennis for five years", you don't use the preposition "seit", but the adverb "… lang" to indicate a duration of time:

a) Ich habe [fünf Jahre lang] Tennis gespielt. → Perfekt (present perfect): It says, from the present-time perspective, that at some time in the past, you played tennis over a period of five years. "I have done that."

b) Ich spielte [fünf Jahre lang] Tennis. → Präteritum (simple past / imperfect)
The Präteritum version fits more in a narrative text form (short story, novel) or a minute report of a series of events. "I was doing nothing, then a played tennis for five years, then I started gambling, then I ended up in rehab … "

2) If you mean to say "I have been playing tennis for five years" implying that you still play tennis in the present, you cannot use imperfect. It's present tense and the preposition "seit"+Dativ. The preposition "seit"+Dativ literally means "since", which indicates a period of time starting in the past and including the 'current time' of the statement. The current time in present tense is the present, and in past tense it is a point in the past.

a) Ich spiele [ seit {fünf Jahren}ᴰᴬᵀ ] Tennis.
b) Tennis spiele ich [ seit {fünf Jahren}ᴰᴬᵀ ]. (When the fact that you play tennis had previously been established.)

3) Put in the past tense (Präteritum. In German we don't say "Imperfekt" anymore these days):

a) Ich spielte [ seit {fünf Jahren}ᴰᴬᵀ ] Tennis.
The statement refers to a point in the past when you were playing tennis and had been for five years.

In everyday speech, native speakers would more likely use Plusquamperfect (past perfect) for this, e.g.:

b) Ich hatte seit fünf Jahren Tennis gespielt.
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app_
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(Original post by lina_t)
Seit usually indicates a present tense, while vor goes with the past. The sentence just sounds unnatural to me. Are you trying to say that you still play tennis or that you used to do it?
As in "I used to play tennis....."
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app_
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(Original post by Krokodilo)
It depends on what you want to say.

1) If all you want to say is "I played tennis for five years", you don't use the preposition "seit", but the adverb "… lang" to indicate a duration of time:

a) Ich habe [fünf Jahre lang] Tennis gespielt. → Perfekt (present perfect): It says, from the present-time perspective, that at some time in the past, you played tennis over a period of five years. "I have done that."

b) Ich spielte [fünf Jahre lang] Tennis. → Präteritum (simple past / imperfect)
The Präteritum version fits more in a narrative text form (short story, novel) or a minute report of a series of events. "I was doing nothing, then a played tennis for five years, then I started gambling, then I ended up in rehab … "

2) If you mean to say "I have been playing tennis for five years" implying that you still play tennis in the present, you cannot use imperfect. It's present tense and the preposition "seit"+Dativ. The preposition "seit"+Dativ literally means "since", which indicates a period of time starting in the past and including the 'current time' of the statement. The current time in present tense is the present, and in past tense it is a point in the past.

a) Ich spiele [ seit {fünf Jahren}ᴰᴬᵀ ] Tennis.
b) Tennis spiele ich [ seit {fünf Jahren}ᴰᴬᵀ ]. (When the fact that you play tennis had previously been established.)

3) Put in the past tense (Präteritum. In German we don't say "Imperfekt" anymore these days):

a) Ich spielte [ seit {fünf Jahren}ᴰᴬᵀ ] Tennis.
The statement refers to a point in the past when you were playing tennis and had been for five years.

In everyday speech, native speakers would more likely use Plusquamperfect (past perfect) for this, e.g.:

b) Ich hatte seit fünf Jahren Tennis gespielt.
Thank you so much!!!!!
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