Question about representing the past

LauraA2Kwiziq community member

Question about representing the past

hi. Im a litttle confused as to when we use "fui" to represent the past, and say "i was" vs "estuve" vs "era" .... To say, for instance, "i was en Mexico" I can say both "estuve en Mexico" and "fui en Mexico", whats the actual difference between the two...

thank you, Elaine

Asked 10 months ago
InmaKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hola Laura

We have two different verbs: estar and ser 

As you may know, estar and ser both mean "to be" but they are used in different contexts. 

For your sentence "I was in Mexico", where we are talking about locations (where someone is) we use "estar":

Estuve en México.

Estaba en México.

The other thing to bear in mind is which tense to use, the Indefinido or the Imperfecto.

Find at the bottom a link to help you with this.

Then, if you want to use the verb "ser", one of the contexts where we use ser is for identity, or to say what you do for a living, or to describe personality...

You could then say, for example:

Mi madre era mexicana.

My mum was Mexican. 

The form "fui" in the Indefinido could mean either "was"  (from ser) or "went" (from ir), they coincide in their form, for example:

Fui muy egoista con Juan.

I was very selfish with Juan.

Fui al cine con mi madre.

I went to the cinema with my mum.

The differences between estar and ser have to be learnt bit by bit -there's no general rule that one can apply, it depends on different factors. This is why we have lots of different lessons on this topic. 

Here are some of the lessons to do with this:

ser and estar

There are a lot more - let us know if you need something specific.

Estar indefinido or imperfecto

Ser indefinido or imperfecto

Saludos

Inma

HibaA2Kwiziq community member

for era vs. fui:

fui is in the preterite form for ser and so is for a one off event (ie. you went for holiday once) whereas era is in the imperfect and so is for repeated actions (among other things ie. descriptions of past things)

HibaA2Kwiziq community member

as for ser vs. estar (doctor vs. place)

ser:

dates

occupation

characteristics (personality)

time

origin

relations

estar:

postion

location

action

conditions

emotions

HibaA2Kwiziq community member

soory if i couldnt answer your question properly

JeffA2Kwiziq community member
30Él ________ en Madrid con sus amigos.He was in Madrid with his friends.(HINT: Conjugate irregular verb "estar" in the simple past/El Pretérito Indefinido. Example "él llegó" = he arrived.)Why am I wrong??estuvoestaba

Question about representing the past

hi. Im a litttle confused as to when we use "fui" to represent the past, and say "i was" vs "estuve" vs "era" .... To say, for instance, "i was en Mexico" I can say both "estuve en Mexico" and "fui en Mexico", whats the actual difference between the two...

thank you, Elaine

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