Guide - Tenses & Moods

Guide Front Page   Guide Contents

The Indicative Imperfect

Quick Tips

Use it to talk about habitual actions

Use it to talk about something that was happening when something else interrupted

What is it?

The Indicative Imperfect is used to talk about habitual things or things that were happening when interrupted by an additional action. In English the Imperfect is identified when words like 'used to' or 'was' are used, for example, 'I was brushing my teeth when the phone rang' or 'I used to play football every Monday night'.

How are regular verbs conjugated?

-ar verbs
Subject Verb Conjugation
yo hablar hablaba
hablar hablabas
él hablar hablaba
nosotros hablar hablábamos
vosotros hablar hablabais
ellos hablar hablaban

-er and -ir verbs
Subject Verb Conjugation
yo comer / vivir comía / vivía
comer / vivir comías / vivías
él comer / vivir comía / vivía
nosotros comer / vivir comíamos / vivíamos
vosotros comer / vivir comíais / vivíais
ellos comer / vivir comían / vivían

Anything else I should know?

The yo and él forms of the Imperfect are the same so it's useful to use the pronoun to clarify who was doing the action.

Indicative Preterite   Indicative Conditional