The Imperfect

The Imperfect is typically used to describe something in the past.

The Imperfect Basics

The regular conjugation simply consists of changing the verb endings.

 Verb Endings 
él, ella, usted-aba-ía
ellos, ellas, ustedes-aban-ían

TIP: There are no conjugations in the Imperfect tense that have changes in the stem/root of the verb.

The Imperfect – Irregular Form

él, ella, ustedibaeraveía
ellos, ellas, ustedesibaneranveían

Uses of the Imperfect Tense

The Imperfect is used for:

  1. describing a repeated or recurring action in the past.
  2. describing a situation that took place in the past.

TIP: The Spanish imperfect is like the English expression used to + infinitive. It is also like was/were + present participle (-ing) in English.

Imperfect vs Preterit

  • The Imperfect is used to describe memories.
  • The preterit is used to narrate events.
  • The preterit is used to discuss periods of time that are precisely defined. The imperfect is used when describing indefinite periods of time.
  • The preterit indicates a change in relation to a given habit or situation.

SpanishClassesCanada is an online collection of Spanish lessons and outside resources, as well as a provider of Spanish classes in Mississauga, Oakville, Brampton and surrounding cities.