Thursday, 18 October 2012

Where Were You Last Week?

Introduction


This post deals with talking about the past in general, and saying where you were last week in particular.





SCENARIO



Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or colleague. You are talking about recent travels. At some point, the other person says to you: "where were you last week?"

In Spanish, the other person could choose to be less formal and say:
¿Dónde estuviste la semana pasada?

Alternatively, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say:
¿Dónde estuvo (usted) la semana pasada?


OUR TIP

The question is an invitation for you to say where you were last week. When you say where you have been, you DO NOT need to be concerned about the level of formality in the other person's question.


Here are some examples of how you could reply:
  • La semana pasada estuve en España (last week I was in Spain);
  • La semana pasada estuve en Galicia (last week I was in Galicia);
  • La semana pasada estuve en Barcelona ( last week I was in Barcelona);
  • La semana pasada estuve en la playa ( last week I was on the beach);
  • La semana pasada estuve en casa (last week I was at home);
  • La semana pasada estuve en casa de mis padres (last week I was at my parents');


Notes
Talking about the past
Please note that the all the examples above refer to past actions which were completed at a time which also belongs in the past. In other words, the period of time in which the actions in the examples above were completed, i.e. last week, is also in the past.

However, sometimes you may wish to talk about past actions which were completed at a time which in Spanish belongs in the present. In other words, the period of time in which the actions were completed is still ongoing. Examples of periods of time which in Spanish belong in the present are: today/ this week/ this month/ this year/ etc. In such cases, it is common to use an alternative form of referring to completed actions, as follows:
  • Hoy he estado en el centro (today I have been in the town center/ downtown)
  • Este mes he estado en Barcelona dos veces (this month I have been in Barcelona twice)
  • Esta semana he estado en casa (this week I have stayed at home)


Now you should practise answering the question:
¿Dónde estuviste la semana pasada?

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