Site Feedback

Undecided questions
When I use past tense "I was" how do I say that in a sentence in spanish? ex: "I WAS going to call"

I get very caught up with implementing phrases like "I was" or "I was there" or "I wanted to" and even "I wasn't" and "I didn't"

Clearly, I need help!:)

For learning: Spanish
Base language: English
Category: Language



    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.



    Sort by:

    Hello Javier!!
    I think your question is very general...
    Verb to be can mean, ser o estar. I was (Yo estuve or Yo estaba) I was here (Yo estuve aquí or Yo estaba too).
    I wanted is Yo quise (I wanted to do something = Yo quise or Yo quería hacer algo)
    It is important to make difference between two kinds of past tenses in Spanish (Pretérito imperfecto and Préterito Perfecto Simple) First is for verbs in progress...(I was working, I was walking = Estaba trabajando, Estaba caminando) And Second is for finished actions (I worked, I walked = Yo trabajé, yo caminé).
    It is complicated, but i hope this examples help you to make progress.

    I was afraid of something = Tuve/Tenía miedo de algo
    I was very upset = Estuve/Estaba muy enojado
    I was fan of them = Fui/Era fanático de ellos

    I just was there = Justo estaba/estuve por allá
    I was there for you = Estuve/Estaba atento a ti

    I wanted to eat something = Quise/Quería comer algo

    I wasn't there = No estuve/estaba allí
    I wasn't the right person = No era/fui la persona indicada.

    I didn't = No lo hice
    I didn't mean it = No lo dije en serio.
    I didn't make it = No lo logré.
    First of all you need to know that there are two verbs in Spanish for 'to be' in English.

    1. Ser
    2. Estar

    'Ser' is used to talk about permanent situations and the time, for some reason. 'Estar' has to do with temporary situations. Sometimes you can use either 'ser' or 'estar' in a sentence to change its meaning.

    Now you need to know that every person (I, You, He, She, It) has its own conjugation in Spanish -its own verb form. Here is a verb table for ser: and here is the verb table for Estar:

    Here are some examples with Ser:

    Soy un Doctor = I am a doctor
    Él fue victorioso = He was victorious
    No era suficiente = It wasn't sufficient

    Here are some examples with Estar:

    Estoy bien = I am ok
    Estuvo divertido = It was fun
    Estaba pensando en irme = I was thinking about going

    To say 'was' you have lots of options because you have the simple 'was' of past tense but also the 'was being' for an unfinished action multiplied by 2, and then bear in mind the verbs change depending on the subject (see the links).
    So, just for 'I', you have:

    When you talk about how you were feeling in the past you would use 'estar', since feelings are temporary. So for 'I', you would say 'estuve feliz' or 'estaba feliz' to say 'I was happy'. Talking about a party last week you could say 'estuvo divertido', to say 'it was fun'.If you talk about a past profession you would use 'ser', so you could say, 'fui un doctor, pero ahora soy abogado' = 'I was a doctor but now I'm a lawyer'.

    To say 'I was going to' in Spanish, you use 'estar'. So you could say something like 'estaba a punto de ir' = I was about to go. To say 'I was accustomed to something' you would say 'estaba/estuve acostumbrado a algo'.

    Now, 'estaba' and 'era' are both examples of the imperfect tense in Spanish, which as I've said is used to talk about actions 'in progress; in the past. However, you also have the option to use the imperfect of other verbs to say the same thing without even needing to use the verb 'be'!

    For example:

    Estaba cocinando o cocinaba = I was cooking
    Estaba pensando o pensaba = I was thinking
    Estaba yendo o iba = I was going

    (Notice that in none of these example I use the pronoun 'yo', because since every verb conjugation is different there's no need)

    So you can say 'estaba a punto de ir' to say 'I was going to go', or you could say 'Iba a ir'. If you don't like either of those constructions you can also say 'quería ir' which means 'I wanted to go' but is also commonly used. :-)

    Submit your answer

    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.

    If you copy this answer from another italki answer page, please state the URL of where you got your answer from.