Modern Greek/Lesson 09.1

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Active Imperfect Tense[edit]

1st Conjugation[edit]

The imperfect tense is used to describe an action in the past that was continuous or repeated. For verbs in the first conjugation, it is formed from the progressive stem by moving the accent to the third syllable from the end, and adding endings that differ from those used in the present. The following example illustrates this with the verb διαβάζω (to read):

Present:

διαβάζω διαβάζουμε
διαβάζεις διαβάζετε
διαβάζει διαβάζουν

Imperfect:

διάβαζα διαβάζαμε
διάβαζες διαβάζατε
διάβαζε διάβαζαν

Example:

Η γιαγιά μου διάβαζε. My grandmother used to read.

If the stem of the verb is too short to allow an accent on the third syllable from the end, the prefix ε- is added, take for example the verb γράφω (to write):

έγραφα γράφαμε
έγραφες γράφατε
έγραφε έγραφαν

2nd Conjugation[edit]

The Imperfect is the Past Continuous in English.

Both first order verbs like αγαπώ (to love) and second order verbs like καλώ (to call), use the suffix -ούσ-:

καλούσα καλούσαμε
καλούσες καλούσατε
καλούσε καλούσαν

Examples:

Η μητέρα καλούσε το παιδί της. The mother was calling her child.
Το παιδί αγαπούσε τη μητέρα του. The child loved his mother.

Passive Imperfect Tense[edit]

Review of the present passive; εμπιστεύομαι, to trust:

εμπιστεύομαι εμπιστευόμαστε
εμπιστεύεσαι εμπιστεύεστε
εμπιστεύεται εμπιστεύονται

The passive imperfect, like the active imperfect, indicates an action in the past that was ongoing:

εμπιστευόμουν εμπιστευόμασταν
εμπιστευόσουν εμπιστευόσασταν
εμπιστευόταν εμπιστεύονταν