Italian grammar lesson: When should I used "imperfetto" and when "passato prossimo"

Hi everyone! :slight_smile:
As language enthusiasts we all know how challenging it gets when it comes to verbal tenses, especially when it’s the past ones! So we always get confused, when should I use it? Am I using it correctly? So, if you find yourself asking those questions, these tips might come in handy :slight_smile:

When do I use:
:orangutan: Passato prossimo

  1. To express a completed action:
  • I left the house 10 minutes ago. = Sono uscito di casa 10 minuti fa.
  • I saw Michele on Monday. = Lunedì ho visto Michele.
  • Martina read the book in two weeks. = Martina ha letto il libro in due settimane.
  1. To express a series of concluded successive actions, we use passato prossimo + passato prossimo:
  • I saw John and we went to eat. = Ho visto Giovanni e siamo andati a mangiare.
  • Paul read the book and threw it in the trash. = Paolo ha letto il libro e ha buttato la spazzatura.
  • I said no and ran away. = Ho detto di no e sono fuggito via.
  1. To speak of actions in succession, of which the duration or time at which they happened is not relevant
  2. To refer to events circumscribed in time, that is, having a beginning and an end

:horse:. When the imperfetto is used

  1. Imperfect tense is used to express an action at a specific time that has not ended.
  2. To indicate a habitual action, placed in an indefinite time frame, in the past of which we do not know the beginning, end or duration (every day, every summer, always, as a child, usually)
  3. To describe the setting and context in which the event takes place
  • On September 13 last year I was on a trip. = Il 13 Settembre dell’anno scorso ero in viaggio.
  • On Wednesday at 3 p.m. I was studying in the library. = Mercoledì alle 15.00 studiavo in biblioteca.
  • Last year at this time I was leaving for Bucharest! = L’anno scorso a quest’ora partivo per Bucarest!
  1. To express two simultaneous actions we use imperfect + imperfect:
  • Yesterday I was talking to Luke and writing to David. = Ieri parlavo con Luca e scrivevo a Davide.
  • This morning I was studying and yawning. = Questa mattina studiavo e sbadigliavo.
  • That old man was talking and spitting! = Quel vecchio parlava e sputava!

Which one do you have more trouble using? :slight_smile:

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