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Imperfect tense

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Imperfect tense

Postby spqr » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:48 pm

Wheelock does not make clear( at least to me) when to translate the imperfect as a simple past tense. In many of the answer keys he translates the imperfect as a past when I can't figure out why. There must be some grammar nuance that I am missing.
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Re: Imperfect tense

Postby elduce » Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:28 pm

You are right about that. Your translation and insight into the passage comes with experience. I do not know when to translate it as "was/were ____" or simple past tense, but sometimes I use context clues to help me find the best answer.

Perhaps speaking to a Latin teacher or someone outside this forum w/more knowledge on the topic? (or Google it)

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Re: Imperfect tense

Postby Robertus Sum » Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:37 pm

I believe that the easiest way to tell if the imperfect can be translated as simple past is whether or not the verb already implies a continuous action. For example: meum canem amabat, can be translated as "I was loving my dog," or rather "I loved my dog," because in English the concept of having loved something is a continuous, or on-going state of being rather than something which happens and then is completed.
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Re: Imperfect tense

Postby Calgacus » Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:18 am

"Was/were" is far from the only option when it comes to translating the imperfect tense though. "Used to" is quite a good rendering in some cases, as well as "began to" when appropriate. You can even use "would" when it implies repeated action in the past ("Well, each morning I would get up at 6 a.m., I would wolf down some breakfast," etc.).

"meum canem amabam" by the way. :)
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Re: Imperfect tense

Postby peterscot423 » Tue Aug 19, 2014 6:27 am

The simplest way to translate imperfect tense to simple past tense. you should used go to, Down to in the place of was and were. This tense show the past action.
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