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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.

or

Ayer buscaba mi perro.

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

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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

VS

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

VS

Yo buscaba a mi perro todo el día de ayer.

I searched for my dog all day yesterday.

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    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 '15 at 16:22
  • yes, that's right... though I wouldn't call it indefinido . – dockeryZ Jun 24 '15 at 16:23
  • pretérito is the "past simple" you're referring to. – dockeryZ Jun 24 '15 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 '15 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 '15 at 16:33
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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

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  • I don't see how this answers the question. No veo como responde esto a la pregunta. – Brian H. May 22 '19 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). – user0721090601 May 22 '19 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 '19 at 14:12

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