What're the differences between those both constructions? If yesterday I had lost my dog and was looking him should I say

Ayer estaba buscando mi perro.


Ayer buscaba mi perro.

And generally, when should I use estar + gerundio, and when past tenses?

2 Answers 2


Both would be translated to the same sentence in English

I was looking for my dog yesterday

but, in order to explain what estar is doing to the sentence, ... you have to remove the status of looking for

Yo buscaba a mi perro ayer.

I looked for my dog yesterday

there is still a continuity


Yo estaba buscando a mi perro ayer

I was looking for my dog yesterday

Both estaba buscando and buscaba are in the imperfect tense, meaning there is no termination of the event.

Estar means to be in a current, specific, and particular state of time or place. So to say

Estaba buscando a ....

means, I was in a state of searching.. not I searched..

Yo estaba buscando a mi perro todo el día de ayer.

I was in a state of searching for my dog all day yesterday


Yo buscaba a mi perro todo el día de ayer.

I searched for my dog all day yesterday.

  • 1
    Wait, imperfecto is equivalent of english past continous, and indefinido is equivalent of past simple, so 'lo busce' doesn't mean 'I looked him', and 'lo buscaba' 'I was looking him'?
    – mrJoe
    Jun 24, 2015 at 16:22
  • yes, that's right... though I wouldn't call it indefinido .
    – dockeryZ
    Jun 24, 2015 at 16:23
  • pretérito is the "past simple" you're referring to.
    – dockeryZ
    Jun 24, 2015 at 16:28
  • So did you correctly translated 'Yo buscaba a mi perro' as 'I looked for my dog'? Doesn't is mean 'I was looking for my dog'?
    – mrJoe
    Jun 24, 2015 at 16:31
  • I only translated it that way, literally, to show you what estar is doing to the sentence. They still both translate to the same thing.
    – dockeryZ
    Jun 24, 2015 at 16:33

Yo buscaba a mi perro. Le no se usa ya que le es pronombre de objeto indirecto y el perro seria objeto directo. Le como pronombre de objeto directo solamente se usa cuando hablamos de personas, para lo demás se usan los pronombres de objeto directo.

buscaba a mi perro / lo buscaba estoy buscando a mi perro / lo estoy buscando

  • I don't see how this answers the question. No veo como responde esto a la pregunta.
    – Brian H.
    May 22, 2019 at 13:03
  • @BrianH. además, le se usa con personas o cosas humanizadas, tal como sería un perro (o por lo menos, yo le trato a mi perro casi como si lo fuese jajaja). May 22, 2019 at 13:43
  • @BrianH. esta respuesta es un comentario a una edición que el usuario ha realizado sobre otra respuesta, y por tanto debería ser convertido a comentario en la respuesta editada. Se recomienda al nuevo usuario consultar las secciones tour y How to Answer para saber más sobre el sitio.
    – Charlie
    May 22, 2019 at 14:12

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