15.2.3 Use of imperfect

The differences between the imperfect and the present perfect are in German not as clear as they are in the English grammar. Therefore one could almost dare to say that there are no differences between the two past tenses in German. Well, the praxis (as we will show later on) is that almost always the present perfect is used when it is talked about something in the past, especially in spoken language. On the other hand in literature and story-telling the imperfect is still used quite widely.

The theory says that the imperfect is used when there is a distance between the one speaking and the event in the past, either in matter of time or emotionally. The event is not seen close anymore.

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