as it has a time of termination.
Not necessarily, no. Adverb "anoche" (last night) is one of those adverbs that would generally trigger the preterite as it indicates a time frame that is not connected to the present; the same goes for "el año pasado", "el otro día"... However, we can actually use these time phrases with the imperfect. When we use it with the imperfect, we "see" that action as an action happening "during that period of time", in this case "last night" but see the action as a non-completed action. It has more of a descriptive function. If we take the same sentence again and see both cases:
Here I can just see in my head Gabriel trying to put the key in the lock. I am describing what he was doing at certain time during last night but this time is not relevant to me.
Gabriel no pudo meter las llaves en la cerradura anoche.
Here what I see in my head is a very frustrated Gabriel after having tried hard to put the key in the lock but didn't succeed. I see this action as something finished.
I hope this makes sense.
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