I was reading an article on BBCMundo and came across the following sentence: "Como la más joven y la única niña en la familia, dice que siempre estuvo muy unida a su padre."

I thought that the imperfect tense was used for things like this, where if you can't pin the feeling, action, etc. down to a specific date, the imperfect is used (She always felt happy, She used to feel happy, etc., you can't pin this down to a certain point in time so it would be imperfect + it's a description of an emotional state).

  • 2
    I would answer this question using the same explanations I used here: spanish.stackexchange.com/questions/40713/…
    – Gustavson
    Jun 26, 2022 at 16:55
  • See what Gustavson linked to. To my ear, the use of 'estuvo' places this period firmly in the past, that is, for whatever reason, it speaks of that time as over and done....
    – Cerulean
    Jul 2, 2022 at 9:57

1 Answer 1


You could say "Siempre estaba feliz" or "Siempre estuvo feliz", it wouldn't mean exactly the same. You are right about imperfect tense.

If you say "siempre estuvo", you mean it was all the time (which implies some "when"). If you say "siempre estaba", it's more like "used to be", generally speaking (not talking about "when").

I'd say "siempre estaba" emphasizes more "how was she?", and "siempre estuvo" emphasizes more "when was she happy?".

Same for the two examples you gave, "happy" and "with her father".

Another example, this one without "siempre". If I say "Estuve enferma" and "Estaba enferma". Estuve, means I was sick and then got healed. And I summarize the sickness as if it was a point of time. "Estaba", instead, means I'm talking about the sicknes as a period, maybe because I'm talking about something that happened while I was sick, for example. So it's not a point of time here.

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