Imperfect or preterite

SherriC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Imperfect or preterite

By process of elimination, I selected estuvieron as being the correct answer; however, my preference would have been estaban

See the example given below:

Mario estaba de camarero en un restaurante.
Mario was working as a waiter in a restaurant.

Here is the question with the answer:

Mis hijos _estuvieron_ de vendedores en una tienda.
My children were working as shop assistants in a store.

My choice:
Mis hijos _estaban_ de vendedores en una tienda.

Would you explain the reason for the answer being the preterite and not the imperfect, please.

Asked 3 years ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Sherri,

You could use both "estaban de camareros" or "estuvieron de camareros", however it is true that when you read the English "were working" the imperfect is more suitable as it gives the nuance of continuity, which the preterite doesn't have. This is why I just changed the English from "were working" to "worked".

I hope this helps.

Gracias y saludos.

Inma

SherriC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Muchas gracias, Inma.

GarryA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Where was the context for being a temporary job. Sure, many canguros are temporary and some recepionists are temporary but both can be permanent. Soy doctor y mi esposa es maestra y ella es la canguro de mis niños.

InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Garry

It doesn't need any extra context as the actual structure implies that temporality, so if I say for examplo: "Estoy de enfermera en el ambulatorio de mi barrio." I am somehow implying that this may be a temporary job that I got for a couple of months or so, or some opportunity that just came up all of a sudden; while if I say "Soy enfermera en el ambulatorio de mi barrio" I am referring to my normal, steady, probably permanent job (not seasonal, not temporary, not an opportunity that just came up for me)

Saludos

Imperfect or preterite

By process of elimination, I selected estuvieron as being the correct answer; however, my preference would have been estaban

See the example given below:

Mario estaba de camarero en un restaurante.
Mario was working as a waiter in a restaurant.

Here is the question with the answer:

Mis hijos _estuvieron_ de vendedores en una tienda.
My children were working as shop assistants in a store.

My choice:
Mis hijos _estaban_ de vendedores en una tienda.

Would you explain the reason for the answer being the preterite and not the imperfect, please.

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