I'm reading the book Complete Spanish Grammar by Gilda Nissenberg. In page 56 is the following paragraph:

The imperfect is also used to express the past:

  • To indicate a mental state, a mental action, or a state of indefinite duration with verbs such as sentir, creer, conocer, pensar, querer and saber. Mental states are considered ongoing conditions

    • Él pensaba en mí.
    • Nos conocíamos desde que éramos pequeños.
    • Le gustaba caminar por las calles.

It seems that the implication of this paragraph is that the words listed above (sentir, creer, conocer, pensar, querer and saber) are almost never used in preterit tense. Is that true?


1 Answer 1


Not really. You can use both tenses depending on what you want to express:

Él pensaba en mí = He used to think about me. (This action was maintained along time.)

Él pensó en mí = He thought about me. (In a given moment of time.)

Le gustaba caminar por las calles = He used to like walking down the streets. (Action maintained along time.)

Le gustó caminar por las calles = He liked walking down the streets. (Action that happened once and the subject liked it.)

The second example needs a bit change, but you can also use the preterite tense:

Nos conocíamos desde que éramos pequeños = We knew each other since we were kids.

Nos conocimos cuando éramos pequeños = We met when we were kids.

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