Time markers that often trigger the Preterite

Marcadores que se usan generalmente en El Pretérito Indefinido

Vocab

Ayer Yesterday
Anteayer The day before yesterday
Anoche Last night
Desde el primer momento From the first moment
Durante dos siglos For two centuries
El otro día The other day
En ese momento At that moment
Entonces Then
La semana pasada Last week
El mes pasado Last month
El año pasado Last year
Hace dos días Two days ago
Hace dos años Two years ago
Ayer por la mañana Yesterday morning
Ayer por la tarde Yesterday afternoon
Ayer por la noche Last night

Q&A Forum 1 question, 1 answer

TorstenB1Kwiziq community member

For two centuries

Hello, is there some connotation needed for this to trigger the Preterite? Like "These two centuries out of the 5000 years we're talking about"? Or at least "These two very specific centuries"? As opposed to "For two full centuries, which is pretty much forever", where I would have expected the Imperfect.

Asked 3 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Torsten

To use the Preterite with the time phrase "durante dos siglos" we would have to convey that something happened during two specific centuries seeing this period of time as something with an end, for example:

Durante ocho siglos, los musulmanes, los cristianos y los judíos convivieron en el territorio español en armonía. 

For eight centuries, muslims, christians and jews lived together in the Spanish territory in harmony.

So, in the speaker's mind, this is seen as something that happened within that period of time and had an end. We see it as a completed action.

We could also use the Imperfect here, although less common, in which case we would be referring to this coexistence as something that "was happening" during that period of time, without giving any relevance to when it ended. It'd be more descriptive of what was happening during that time.

Here is a lesson that talks about those specific nuances with the Indefinido (preterite) and the Imperfect. Have a look here. 

I hope it clarifies it.

Saludos

For two centuries

Hello, is there some connotation needed for this to trigger the Preterite? Like "These two centuries out of the 5000 years we're talking about"? Or at least "These two very specific centuries"? As opposed to "For two full centuries, which is pretty much forever", where I would have expected the Imperfect.

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