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In this lesson we not only learn how to talk about traveling, but we also get the added bonus of talking about Florianopolis, truly one of the jewels of the southern part of Brazil.
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This lesson provides a ton of useful information in a very small package. The list of verbs that take the imperfect more often than not, is especially appreciated. Are there any others that can be added? I was surprised to see that the informal use of “tremendos” is the same as in English. Again, great lesson–adorei!
OK, verbs that seem to default to imperfect more than preterite… Remember that preterite aspect implies a specific starting or ending point, imperfect implies a general sense of something in the past without a beginning or ending point.
This isn’t official by any means, but here are few examples: Queria ‘wanted’ works better than Quis, which has a meaning of ‘attempted, refused’. Tinha ‘had’ works better than teve, which has a sense of ‘obtained’. Sabia ‘knew’ works generally for past tense, where soube has the connotation of ‘found out. Podia ‘could’ is more common than pôde, which has a more of the preterite aspect of a starting and ending time. Estava ‘was’ seems to appear more than the preterite version of esteve, which also has more of a starting and ending time. So, queria, tinha, sabia, podia, estava.
Thanks so much for the detailed explanation. It really helps and is much appreciated.
I have a question about the verb ‘ter’. Why was the preterite used in ‘ a gente não teve tempo…’ and the imperfect in ‘tinha um sem-fim de opções….’?
I love your question, and the answer is that when it comes to preterite and imperfect, usually there is no correct answer, it all depends on what your brain is emphasizing. “tinha” simply gives background information, while “teve” gives a sense that something is completed. Perhaps a more clear example: Eu tinha um gato (I had a cat), Eu tive um gato (I had a cat), but in the first example you may still have that cat. In the second example, we know that we no longer have the cat.
So back to this example, a person could easily say “a gente nao tinha tempo”, but “a gente nao teve tempo” leaves more of a sense that the whole story is done and completed. It’s a subtle difference, and often interchangeable.