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How Do You Form the Imperfect Tense in Spanish?
Regular Imperfect Forms
There are only two sets of endings for regular imperfect verbs in Spanish, one for -ar verbs and one for both -er and -ir verbs.
To conjugate a regular verb in the imperfect tense in Spanish, simply remove the infinitive ending (-ar, -er, or -ir) and add the imperfect ending that matches the subject.
Check out the table of regular imperfect endings below.
Regular Imperfect Verb Endings
|Subject||-ar Verbs||-er and -ir Verbs|
|él, ella, usted||-aba||-ía|
|ellos, ellas, ustedes||-aban||-ían|
Irregular Imperfect Forms
There are only three verbs with irregular conjugations in the imperfect: ir, ser, and ver. Here they are!
Irregular Imperfect Conjugations
|Subject||Ir (to go)||Ser (to be)||Ver (to see)|
|él, ella, usted|
|ellos, ellas, ustedes|
Uses of the Imperfect Tense
In general, the imperfect is used to talk about past actions, conditions, or events that occurred habitually or repeatedly or that were in progress at a point in the past. It is also used to tell time, talk about dates, give a person's age, and describe characteristics, conditions, and feelings in the past. Read on for more about these uses of the imperfect.
1. Habitual or Repeated Actions
Habitual or repeated actions are those that were done over and over in the past. These are often things a person used to or would do.
2. Actions that Were in Progress in the Past
It's quite common to see the imperfect used to talk about something that was happening when something else occurred. It's also used for actions that continued in the past for an unspecified period of time.
3. Times and Dates
The imperfect is used to talk about times and dates in the past.
The imperfect is commonly used to talk about age in the past.
5. Descriptions of Characteristics, Conditions, and Feelings
The imperfect is used to give descriptions in the past, especially those that set the scene in terms of the senses.