Use of Pretérito Perfecto or Indefinido

KentB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Use of Pretérito Perfecto or Indefinido

Example in the quiz: ¿Cuanto tiempo has tardado en hacer ese proyecto?

Could that also be said as ¿Cuanto tiempo tardaste en hacer ese proyecto?

In other lessons, it’s been mentioned that Peninsular Spanish more commonly uses the Pretérito Perfecto where LatAm Spanish uses the Pretérito indefinido in similar contexts. Would that difference apply here?

Asked 10 months ago
InmaKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hola Kent

Yes, while in Spain we'd be using the perfect tense to ask about this without being specific about when this started and finished and then use the preterite to refer to something with an end, in Latin America this distinction is not really considered so much, so, even if the question is not taking into account the beginning and end of the project, the tendency is to use the preterite anyway. 

Saludos

Inma

JohnC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hola Kent, you may already be thinking this (but just in case), while the usage between LatAm and Peninsular Spanish differs as you say, whether the speaker uses the Pretérito Perfecto or the Pretérito Indefinido will depend on the time frame in which the action is set. In both cases it would be typically translated as “How long did it take you to do that project,” though it may be possible to use “has it taken you” in the Pretérito Perfecto. The former tense is used for “current” time frames such as this morning, this week, this month, this year, (note “this”) and today. So if the question is being asked within any of the above you will use the Pretérito Perfecto, where the time period is implied if not stated specifically. Traditionally this tense was used in Peninsular Spain to talk about life experiences “Has viajado mucho por Europa?” but nowadays the preference is to use the Pretérito Indefinido, which was always the preference in LatAm. There is a lesson about this on the course; search on “experiences.”

If on the other hand you are referring to a time period for the task that is definitely in the “completed” past e.g. “last week, yesterday, last month etc” then you would use the Pretérito Indefinido. 

I hope that helps. Saludos. John

Use of Pretérito Perfecto or Indefinido

Example in the quiz: ¿Cuanto tiempo has tardado en hacer ese proyecto?

Could that also be said as ¿Cuanto tiempo tardaste en hacer ese proyecto?

In other lessons, it’s been mentioned that Peninsular Spanish more commonly uses the Pretérito Perfecto where LatAm Spanish uses the Pretérito indefinido in similar contexts. Would that difference apply here?

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