Uses of the preterite:(snapshot-like qualities)
Ex:They arrived at 7:00, washed the dishes, vacuumed the living room, .
and left by 7:30.
Ex: I called him 5 times yesterday.
I studied all night long.
We watched television for 3 hours.
Ex:I closed the book.
It began to rain at 8am.
He left immediately.
Class started at 10am.
Ex:The play started at 7pm.
The concert ended at 3pm.
He started to study last night.
Ex: Everyone was happy when they heard the good news.
She became pale when she found out the bad news.
I got angry when I couldn’t find my keys .
Ex: The plane arrived at 7:30am.
She went out last night at midnight.
My boyfriend picked me up around 8:00pm.
Ex: I was sleeping (imperfect) when the phone rang (preterite).
I was crossing the street (imperfect) when a car hit me (preterite).
Uses of the imperfect:(moving picture-like qualities)
Ex: It was 9pm when I arrived at the house.
The windows were dark, and it was very windy.
2. A continuous action that is interrupted by another action:
Ex: We were eating dinner when the doorbell rang.
He was sleeping when he heard a loud crash.
3.A repeated action in the past, without time limits:
Ex: When I was young, I used to go to the market with my grandma on
On Fridays we always ate pizza.
We would go to Florida every summer.
4.Description of an emotion, physical or mental state:
Ex: I wanted to marry him even though he was gravely ill.
He always believed in God.
Ex: We were going to have a party last Friday, but we didn’t.
Since we were going to have an exam that Monday, we didn’t go out that weekend.
6.Simultaneous actionsà two or more actions occurring at the same time:
Ex. While I was studying, she was watching television.
My mom was setting the table while my father finished fixing the
washer. (key word: mientras= while)