Tutor profile: Ferdinand I.
What is the difference between the preterito and the imperfecto?
Both are past tenses. The preterito is used to indicate a past action that took place at a specific point in time in the past. (Ayer fui a la tienda. - Yesterday I went to the store.) The imperfecto is used to express an on-going action in the past. It expresses what was happening when something else happened. (Ayer iba a la tienda cuando vi a Jose. - Yesterday I was going to the store when I saw Jose.)
What is the difference between the Passato prossimo and Imperfetto? Both are past tenses, but they are not interchangeable. The passato prossimo is used to express a past action that took place at a specific point in time. It has a definite beginning and end. (Sono andato in centro ieri. - I went downtown yesterday) The imperfetto focuses on the duration of an action It is used to express an action that is in progress in the past. (Andavo in centro quando ho visto Paolo. - I was going downtown she I saw Paolo.)
Both are past tenses, but they are not interchangeable. (See above)
How should I handle reading a short story in a foreign language?
You can not stop and look up every word you do not know. Read the selection from beginning end to see how much you understand. Mark parts you do not understand. Those are the sections where you will need to look up some of the words until you get the gist of what is going on. Look up unfamiliar words that appear over and over. Then go back and read the story again. You will have to read the story several times. Each time you will understand more and more.
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