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Imperfect tense in Spanish

Uses of the imperfect past tense in Spanish

The imperfect tense in Spanish is a past tense used to describe repeated or habitual actions that have no reference to a beginning or an end.

Cuando era niña, me gustaba jugar con mis hermanas.

  •      When I was young, I liked to play with my sisters.

Rudolfo leía todos los días.

  •      Rudolfo read every day.

 

It is also used to describe events or actions that were in progress.

Mario cocinaba mientras Tania le leía la receta.

  •      Mario was cooking while Tania was reading him the recipe.

Estábamos en la casa.

  •      We were in the house.

The imperfect is also used to describe characteristics and states (or conditions) in the past with no reference to a beginning or an end.

Tenía muchos amigos.

  •      I had a lot of friends.

Ellos estaban enfermos.

  •      They were sick.

Conjugations of the imperfect tense in Spanish

Regular verbs – To conjugate the imperfect tense, remove the infinitive ending and add the following endings.
-ar
-er
-ir
buscar (to look for) comer (to eat) escribir  (to write)
busc aba busc ábamos com ía com íamos escrib ía escrib íamos
busc abas busc abais com ías com íais escrib ías escrib íais
busc aba busc aban com ía com ían escrib ía escrib ían

 

Irregular imperfect tense verbs in Spanish- There are only three irregular conjugations in the imperfect.

 

ir (to go) ser (to be) ver (to see)
iba íbamos era éramos veía veíamos
ibas ibais eras erais veías veíais
iba iban era eran veía veían

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