The Imperfect
Tense
Imperfect Tense Endings
“-AR” VERBS
-aba -ábamos
-abas -abais
-aba
-aban
hablar – to speak
hablaba hablábamos
hablabas hablabais
hablaba hablaban
Imperfect Tense Endings
“-ER/-IR” VERBS
-ía
-ías
-íamos
-ía
-ían
-íais
comer – to eat
comía
comíamos
comías comíais
comía
comían
jugar – to play
jugaba
(no stem changes!)
jugábamos
jugabas jugabais
jugaba
jugaban
vivir – to live
vivía
vivíamos
vivías
vivíais
vivía
vivían
ir - to go
iba
íbamos
ibas
ibais
iba
iban
ser – to be
era
éramos
eras
erais
era
eran
ver – to see
veía
veíamos
veías
veíais
veía
veían
What are the uses of the Imperfect Tense?
1) To describe an event in the
past that USED TO occur.
 This could have happened
regularly, frequently, from time
to time, now and again
 Implies it happened more than
once.
 Example: Siempre iba a la casa de
mis abuelos.


I always used to go to my grandparents house.
Expressions Used to Help Identify
the Imperfect Tense
a menudo – often
 normalmente - normally
 siempre - always
 cada día – every day
 todos los días- every day
 con frecuencia – frequently
 frecuentemente - frequently

Expressions Used to Help Identify
the Imperfect Tense
con regularidad - regularly
 muchas veces – many times
 a veces - sometimes
 de vez en cuando –once in a while
 una vez a la semana – once a week
 una vez al día – once a day
 una vez al año – once a year

Expressions Used to Help Identify
the Imperfect Tense
de niño/a
 en mi niñez
 cuando era niño/a

Uses of the Imperfect Tense
 2)To indicate actions that
WERE GOING ON at the time
about which you are speaking.
 Ongoing actions “-ing”
 Example: Mientras hablaba,
ellos jugaban al fútbol.

While I was talking, they were
playing soccer.
Uses of the Imperfect Tense
 3) To DESCRIBE the way
people that you are
remembering looked or were.
 Description / Personality
 Example: Mi abuela era baja y
simpática.

My grandmother was short and
nice.
Uses of the Imperfect Tense
4) To express HOW OLD
SOMEONE WAS IN THE
PAST: AGE
 Example: Mi abuelo tenía 60
años cuando yo nací.


My grandfather was 60
years old when I was born.
Uses of the Imperfect Tense
5) To express past states
of HEALTH/Feelings.
 Example: Mi abuela estaba
enferma.

My grandmother was sick.
 Me sentía nerviosa…

Uses of the Imperfect Tense
6) To set the BACKGROUND of a
story. (DESCRIPTION)
 Eran las ocho. (TIME)
 It was 8.
 Llovía mucho. (WEATHER)



It was raining.
Estábamos en casa. (LOCATION)

We were at home.
Uses of the Imperfect Tense
 7) To express ATTITUDES
and BELIEFS that were held
at that time in the past.
 Mental Activity – thought
processes
 Example: Yo creía que ella era
delgada.

I thought she was thin.
Common Verbs of this Nature:
 querer – to want
 desear – to desire
 preferir - to prefer
 poder – to be able to
 sentir – to be sorry , regret
 pensar – to think
 saber – to know
 creer- to think, beleive
How do I conjugate in the
Imperfect Tense?
You drop the ENDING and
add a given set of endings
to the STEM.
 Are there stem changes?



NO!
Are there spelling changes?

NO!
How do I conjugate in the
Imperfect Tense?
Are there irregulars? YES
 But…there are only THREE !
 IR , SER and VER
 GUSTAR: Only two forms
gustaba / gustaban
 Me gustaba bailar.
 ¿Te gustaban las muñecas?

How do I conjugate in the
Imperfect Tense?
To say “there was / there
were” (“hay” in the present
tense) : había
 Example: Había muchas
personas en la escuela.


There were a lot of people
at school.
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The Imperfect Tense