Muestra Paul cuando fue más joven.


Muestra Paul cuando era más joven.

I want to say, It shows when Paul was younger. It's for a tv show which is showing a character from another show but in the past. Would this count as setting the scene or repeated action? I am having trouble telling. Google translate and Spanish checker are telling me to use era.

1 Answer 1


» Muestra a Paul cuando fue más joven.
(At some definite point in the past, it shows when Paul was younger.)

» Muestra a Paul cuando era más joven.
(During a period of time -unknown- in the past, it shows when Paul was younger.)

The use of fue or era is not always clear-cut, but we restrict to use the preterite for actions that happened at some definite point in the past.

  • 1
    That is perfectly correct. The only thing is, he is specifically saying "más joven", which specifies an unspecific past. His example is imperfect, not preterite. Se nota cuando Paul era más joven. Feb 13, 2016 at 13:35
  • @robertotomás Oh! I'll add that, I misread it.
    – Schwale
    Feb 13, 2016 at 13:36
  • 1
    I have some reservations about this answer. "Muestra a Paul cuando fue más joven" just doesn't sound right. The present perfect could make sense in sentences like "No te olvides de que yo también fui joven", but here the fact of being young lasts a period of time, which is what is being shown. The preterite ("muestra a Paul cuando era más joven") reflects that idea better.
    – Yay
    Feb 13, 2016 at 19:02
  • @Yay I also agree that the former doesn't sound good but I didn't want to dismiss it since perhaps other people may use it. What's the example of the present perfect you mean?
    – Schwale
    Feb 13, 2016 at 19:07
  • Oops! I meant present simple. I see what you mean. However, it may be useful to make it clearer that, although both are acceptable in different contexts, the preterite is more likely to be the right option here.
    – Yay
    Feb 13, 2016 at 19:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.