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Linguaholic

Use of soler?


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My Spanish teacher in high school told us that the imperfect is used for both habitual actions in the past and can be translated as "used to" in English. I only graduated a few years ago so Google Translate was around, and she would get mad at students that used the phrase "subject + imperfect form of soler + infinitive verb" to demonstrate "used to" in their essays. Of course, she told us that imperfect would cover it and that using soler was a lazy way out.

That didn't really sit right with me. Was she right? Or does soler have a use in either formal or conversational Spanish?

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  • 1 month later...

Impefect past?  Well, some people do use the verb soler that way, but is not something people do so often.  I mean, I've probably said things like: ''Yo solía escuchar ese tipo de música hace uns aos''.  Is not used so often, but people prefer something that sounds easier like ''hacias'' or other verbs.  

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Indeed. In general, the sentence's structure is like that:  "subject + imperfect form of "soler" + infinitive verb

"I used to eat oranges frequently"-> "Yo solía comer naranjas a menudo " or even "Solía comer naranjas a menudo". Since the first person subject is implicit in the sentence, you are free to obviate it

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