Difference Between Fue and Era

Main Difference – Fue vs. Era

In the Spanish language, there are two simple past tenses. They are preterite and imperfect. Both fue and era are conjugations of the verb ser. (to be) Fue is the third person singular preterite form of ser while era is the first and third person singular imperfect form of ser. This is the main difference between fue and era. It is important to understand the difference between these two tenses in order to understand the difference between Fue and Era.

When to Use Fue

Fue is the Third-person singular, preterite indicative form of ser that is used with élella and usted. If we are to learn about the usage of the fue, we have to know the uses of the preterite form. In general, preterite tense is used to talk about a completed action.

Preterite form can be used to indicate,

Actions that can be classified as single events

Actions that were repeated a specific number of times

Actions that are a part of a series of events

Actions that occurred during a specific time period

Beginning or end of an action

The ser conjugations of the preterite form are as follows.

yo fui
tú fuiste  
él/ella/usted fue
nosotros/-as fuimos
vosotros/-as fuisteis
ellos/ellas/ustedes fueron

Since fue is a conjugation of the preterite tense, it too is used according to the above requirements. Given below are some example sentences that use fue.

              Ese fue un gran día. – That was a great day

               Cómo fue tu clase? – How was your class?

Main Difference - Fue vs Era

No fue un partido normal. – It wasn’t an ordinary match.

When to Use Era

Era is the third-person singular as well as the first-person singular of imperfect form the verb ser. The imperfect tense is used to talk about an incomplete action. Hence, it is named ‘imperfect’ tense. This tense can be used to indicate,

 Actions that were repeated habitually

 Actions that occurred over an unspecified time

Time and a person’s age

Mental states and physical sensations (generally)

Characteristics of people, things or conditions

The ser conjugations of the imperfect tense are as follows.

yo era

tú eras

él/ella/usted era

nosotros/-as éramos

vosotros/-as erais

ellos/ellas/ustedes eran

Therefore, era is also used to indicate an incomplete action that falls into the above guidelines. Some examples include,

Era la una de la tarde. – it was 1 p.m.

Yo era maestro -I used to be a teacher.

Difference Between Fue and Era

La librera era de mi abuelita. – The bookcase was my grandmother’s.

Era is especially used when we are describing the background or the setting of an event or a story. Therefore, Era and Fue can be seen in the same sentence as well.

In addition, The imperfect tense is frequently associated with phrases that describe the frequency of past actions. For example, phrases like con frecuencia (frequently), a veces (sometimes), cada día (every day) etc.

Difference Between Fue and Era


Fue is a conjugation of the preterite tense.

Era is a conjugation of the imperfect tense.

Type of Action

Fue is used with a completed action.     

Era is used with an incomplete action.


Fue tells us specifically when an action took place.

Era tells us in general when an action took place.


Fue is only used as the third person singular of ser.    

Era is used as the first person singular and the third person of the singular form of ser.

ifference Between Fue and Era - infographic

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