Situations where you use the imperfect and indefinite in the same sentence
|Pretérito Imperfecto||Indefinido (Pret simple)|
1) Cuando trabajábamos juntos,
2) Como estaba en casa,
mire la tele
|- USAL ACTIVITIES-|
3)Todos los años íbamos de vacaciones a Brasil,
pero este año nos fuimos Mar Del Plata
|-Simultaneous actions (+LONGER) -|
4) Lo vi que corría,
|-Simultaneous actions (- SHORTER)-|
cuando abrí la puerta del auto
These are cases where the “indefinido” and the imperfect work together or are shown together.
1) In the first case you will find in the same sentence a description and an action. Let’s see an example:
Cuando trabajaba como modelo, corte con Juan. (When I used to work as a model I broke up with Juan)
You can see in the first part of the sentence a description, a context, “cuando trabajaba como modelo”. It sets a context first, a description and then it comes the action “she broke up with her boyfriend Juan”, corto con su novio Juan. The action is “breaking up” o cortar in Spanish.
2) In the second case there is a situation and an action in the same sentence. By situation means like “Since I was home, or near your house”, I did something. Since this situation was available, I did it.
Como estaba ceca de tu casa, pase a visitarte. (Since I was near your house, I came to visit you)
3) This one compares habitual actions vs exceptional actions in the same sentence. For example, every summer we used to go to the lake, but this summer we went to Europe.
An example in Spanish:
Todos los años íbamos a Mar del plata, pero este año nos fuimos a Brasil. The first part of the sentence is an usual activity they used to do, and the second action is an exceptional action for this year.
4) The fourth case is when in a same sentence appears a simultaneous action, but one is longer than the other one. For example, I saw him running when I opened the car’s door. The action of him running is longer that the action of opening the door.
Now let’s see the example in Spanish:
Lo vi que corría, cuando abrí la puerta del auto.
Always the indefinido (past simple) is the shorter action, always, and the imperfect is the larger action. In this case corría is the larger action (imperfect) and abrí is the shorter action (indefinido).