Using the Preterite and Imperfect Together
We can use the preterite and imperfect together to talk about the past.
- Use the imperfect to say what was going on or what was happening in the background.
- Use the preterite when what was happening in the background was interrupted by another action.
In the following example, imperfect tense verbs are in ( ).
Mientras (hablaba) sono' la alarma contra incendios.
While I was talking the fire alarm went off.
Baje' las escaleras y, al llegar a la calle, me di cuenta de que (hacía) mucho calor.
I rushed down the stairs and, when I got to the street, I realized that it was very hot.