(Imperfect b/c it describes an ongoing past action with no reference to its beginning or end - "There were many people on the street.")
(Hubo/Había) mucha gente en la calle.
(Preterite b/c it expresses the beginning or end of a past action - "At 12:30, Tom and I entered the restaurant Tárcoles.")
A las doce y media, Tomás y yo (entramos/entrábamos) en el restaurante Tárcoles.
(Imperfect b/c it expresses habitual past actions and events - "Every day I had lunch with Thomas at noon.")
Todos los días yo (almorcé/almorzaba) con Tomás al mediodía.
(Preterite b/c it expresses the beginning or end of a past action - "The waiter came immediately to give us the menu.")
El camarero (llegó/llegaba) inmediatamente para darnos el menú.
(Preterite b/c it expresses the beginning or end of a past action - "Suddenly, the waiter returned to our table.")
De repente, el camarero (volvió/volvía) a nuestra mesa.
(1. Imperfect b/c it describes physical/emotional states and characteristics - it was raining when...)
(2. Preterite b/c it expresses actions that are viewed by the speaker as completed - ...when we left the restaurant.)
(Llovió/Llovía) cuando (salimos/salíamos) del restaurante.
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