The imperfect progressive tense tells what a person was doing. It's especially useful when you want to emphasize the fact that an action in the past was interrupted.
Forming the Imperfect Progressive
The imperfect progressive tense is formed with the imperfect indicative of the verb estarand the present participle of the content verb, which tells you what was happening. This is known as a perífrasis verbal, or verbal periphrasis.
Imperfect Progressive Formula
imperfect indicative of estar + present participle
Imperfect Progressive Forms
|yo||I was speaking.|
|tú||You were speaking.|
|él, ella, usted||He/She was speaking./You were speaking.|
|nosotros||We were speaking.|
|vosotros||You (all) were speaking.|
|ellos, ellas, ustedes||They were speaking./You were speaking.|
Check out these examples of the imperfect progressive.
In the first example above, the action that was interrupted (estaba hablando) is in the imperfect progressive, while the action that interrupted is in the preterite (llamaste).
More Progressive Tenses
By changing the tense of estar, you can form different progressive tenses, such as the present progressive, the preterite progressive, the imperfect progressive, and the future progressive, etc. The present participle itself doesn't change.
Are you looking for more information about past tenses in Spanish? Take a look at these articles: