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Borracho, Emborracharse


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Old March 06, 2018, 07:40 PM
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Borracho, Emborracharse

Hola everyone,

I am a little confused with the word 'drunk', 'borracho'.
Whilst in Spain I have said: 'Anoche estuve borracho','Last night I was drunk'.
A Spanish person who speaks very good English informed me that it should be 'estaba borracho'.
I don't/didn't understand as to me, I was drunk, that has a start and end point therefore it is Preterite = estuve
Am I incorrect?

Afterwards I looked at the Refelexive verb 'emborracharse'.
Again my thoughts are to use the Preterite form and say 'Anoche me emborraché' NOT the Imperfect 'me emborrachaba'.

From all these conjugations how would a Spanish person convey how he/she got drunk?

'Anoche estuve borracho'
'Anoche estaba borracho'
'Anoche me emborraché'
'Anoche me emborrachaba'

Thanks again.
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Old March 06, 2018, 10:42 PM
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poli poli is offline
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This is a good question. Commonly you will hear anoche estaba borracho. I don't know if there are rules here but I think estuve borracho would mean a brief spell of drunkenness almost like a dizzy spell.
Conversely you would hear anoche me emborraché meaning last night I got drunk.
Me ayuda si corrige mis errores. Gracias.
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Old March 06, 2018, 11:48 PM
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wrholt wrholt is offline
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Anoche estaba borracho = "I was drunk last night". In most contexts in which someone might say this sentence, the fact that there was some moment when the speaker started being drunk and that there was (probably) some moment when the speaker was completely sober again is irrelevant.

Anoche estuve borracho = "I was drunk last night" sounds strange; the preterite explicitly invokes the moment of starting and/or ending being drunk, but the meaning of anoche is too vague to provide enough time reference to mark the moments of starting and/or ending, and the meaning of estar borracho also does not imply precise starting and/or ending times. So your listener may feel confused because they can't figure out why you are using the preterite, unless you intend to mean something like you were sober one moment and drunk the next moment, or you were drunk at some moment, and then completely sober the next moment.

The verb emborracharse = "to get drunk" is a different case, as the meaning explicitly describes the transition from being sober to being drunk as a one-time event. As a result, saying anoche me emborraché = "I got drunk last night" sounds natural.

On the other hand, the process of getting drunk is also not instantaneous, so it is also possible to say anoche me emborrachaba = "I was getting drunk", especially when you follow up with a description of some more-instantaneous event that occurred, such as cuando la vi entrar = "when I saw her come in".

Last edited by wrholt; March 06, 2018 at 11:52 PM.
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Old March 09, 2018, 08:32 AM
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AndyP AndyP is offline
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Thanks both of you for your replies and the excellent explanation of usage in different contexts.
Many Thanks
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