# 8.2: El imperfecto

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## The imperfect

You have learned to use past tense using "pretérito". Now, you are going to learn a different way to describe about past actions using "imperfecto".

### Verb conjugation

We are going to learn the conjugation of:

• Regular verbs;
• Stem changing verbs; and
• Irregular verbs (there are only three: ir, ser y ver)

#### Regular verbs

In the chart below, you will see the verbs "-ar", "-er and -ir" ending in the imperfect tense in bold. Verbs "tomar", "leer" and "escribir" are conjugated in the imperfect tense shown in bold.

Subject Pronoun

"-ar" ending

Verb "tomar"

"er" and "ir" ending

Verb "leer"

Verb "escribir"

Yo

-aba

tomaba

-ía

leía

escribía

-abas

tomabas

-ías

leías

escribías

Usted, él, ella

-aba

tomaba

-ía

leía

escribía

Nosotros, nosotras

-ábamos

tomábamos

-íamos

leíamos

escribíamos

Vosotros, vosotras

-abais

tomabais

-íais

leíais

escribíais

Ustedes, ellos, ellas

-aban

tomaban

-ían

leían

escribían

#### Stem changing verbs

There is no stem changing verb in the imperfect tense. The stem changing verbs are conjugated like a regular "-ar" or "-er", "-ir" verb. Note that all verbs conjugated in imperfect tense shown below are highlighted in bold.

• "Tener" (e: ie) and "almorzar" (o: ue): Cuando los niños tenían hambre, almorzaban en la cafetería de la escuela.
• "Pedir" (e: i): Marisela siempre le pedía al mesero un vaso de agua y un café.
• "Jugar" (u: ue): Nosotros jugábamos al fútbol en el parque cada domingo.

#### Irregular verbs

Subjet Pronoun

Ir (to go)

Ser (to be)

Ver (to see, to watch)

Yo

iba

era

veía

ibas

eras

veías

Usted, él, ella

iba

era

veía

Nosotros, nosotras

íbamos

éramos

veíamos

Vosotros, vosotras

ibais

erais

veíais

Ustedes, ellos, ellas

iban

eran

veían

### Expressions of time used with the imperfect tense

Spanish English

Siempre

Always

(Casi) siempre

(Almost) always

Frequently

Mientras

While

Generalmente

Generally

Todos los (días, meses, años, domingos, etc.)

Every day, month, year, Sundays, etc.

Todas las semanas Every week
Nunca, jamás Never
(Casi) nunca (Almost) never
Una vez, dos veces (# veces por día, semana, mes, año, etc.) Once, twice (# of times per day, week, month, year, etc.)
De vez en cuando, a veces Sometimes
Normalmente Normally
Cada día, semana, mes, año, primavera, verano, etc Each day, week, month, year, Spring, Summer, etc.

### Uses of imperfect tense

Here are the uses of imperfect tense with examples. Note that all verbs conjugated in imperfect tense are in bold.

1. Habitual or repeated actions
• Nos levantábamos a las siete todos los días.
We used to get up at seven every day.

2. Age

• Carlitos tenía 5 años en esta foto.
Carlitos was 5 years old in this photo.

3. Physical characteristics

• Lucía era alta y bonita. Y siempre tenía una sonrisa.
Lucía was tall and pretty. And always had a smile.

4. Mental or Emotional states

• Lucía era muy lista y trabajadora. Nunca estaba triste ni enojada.
Lucía was very smart and hard-working. She was never sad nor angry.

5. Telling time

It was one in the morning. It was eleven.

6. Describing weather

• Era una noche de tempestad. Llovía y había relámpagos.
It was a stormy night. It was raining and there were lightning.

7. Events or actions that were on-going in the past/progressing

• Yo tomaba el café mientras escuchaba la música.
I was drinking the coffee while listening to the music.

• Yo hacía la tarea mientras mi mamá preparaba la cena.
I was doing the homework while my mom was preparing the dinner.

• Nosotros estábamos cantando la canción mientras ustedes estaban bailando al ritmo.
We were singing the song while you were dancing to the rhythm

This page titled 8.2: El imperfecto is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by M. Barrio De Mendoza, K Gutiérrez, H.Ho, C. Lin, & A Stere Lugo (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative) .