I am confused with tenses of imperfect and perfect. Please help me understand the usage.

A : Do you remember the color of the house which we visited years ago?
B : It was yellow.

In translating B, which one is correct?

Erat flavus.
Fuit flavus.

And in case B is not sure of the color and says that it might be yellow, how can it be translated? Sit flavus is possible?

Another question, what is 'onesided love' in latin?

Always thank you.


In translating B  it is correct to say “Erat flavus” because the imperfect ERAT is a describing tense that expresses a continued action in the past, while the perfect FUIT would denote a completed action.
In short, Latin uses the imperfect ERAT because the color of the house which somebody visited years ago continues to be yellow, at least in the context that you mention.
Please note that the reason why you are confused with Latin imperfect and perfect is that English does not have different forms for imperfect and perfect as it uses only "was" for both "erat" and "fuit".

With regard to the question “in case B is not sure of the color and says that it might be yellow, how can it be translated? Sit flavus is possible?”, here’s my answer:
If you are not sure of the color and want to say that it might be yellow, you can say:”Flavus erat fortasse” or “Forsitan erat flavus” where both “Fortasse” and “Forsitan” mean “perhaps”,”probably”, “possibly”.
As for “Sit flavus”, it is incorrect as it  would mean “Granted that it is yellow” for SIT is a Concessive Subjunctive just used in the Present  Tense for present time.

Lastly, 'one-sided love' corresponds to “iniquus amor”, as we read in Pliny the Younger, Epistularum Libri Decem , Book 2, Epistle 2)  just in the sense that love is not reciprocal, but one-sided.
Anyway you could also say:”inaequalis amor” (literally, “unequal /unbalanced love”).

Best regards,



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