The imperfect

In English, there is no direct translation of the Spanish imperfect, which describes a situation prior to the moment of utterance without relating to it; in other words, it is used to express situations in progress without indicating its beginning or end (unlike the preterit). Depending on the context, however, the used to or would verb constructions as well as the simple past and past progressive tenses may be used to translate the preterit. Following are the primary uses of the preterit tense:

-To describe habitual or repeated actions.

Jugábamos tenis todos los días. (We used to play tennis every day.)

-To describe actions that were happening when something else occurred.

Manejaba el auto cuando me llamaste. (I was driving the car when you called.)

-To express courtesy.

Quería preguntarle acerca del tiempo imperfecto. (I wanted to ask you about the imperfect tense.)