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The imperfect tense communicates:

  • continuing past events (translates English was/were __ing)
  • customary, habitual events in the past
  • planned future events

Verbs are conjugated to the imperfect by taking off the last two letters of the infinitive and replacing them with an ending based on -ía or -aba.

Conjugating regular verbs in the imperfect[edit | edit source]

This is probably the easiest verb tense to conjugate.

-AR verbs take on the -aba endings. Here is an example:

Bailar (to dance)

bailaba: I danced
bailabas: you danced
bailaba: he, she, it, you (formal) danced
bailábamos: we danced
bailabais: you danced
bailaban: they, you (plural, formal) danced

-IR and -ER verbs take on -ía endings. Examples:

Venir (to come)

venía: I came
venías: you came
venía: he, she, it, you came
veníamos: we came
veníais: you came
venían: they, you (formal) came

Comer (to eat)

comía: I ate
comías: you ate
comía: he, she, it, you ate
comíamos: we ate
comíais: you ate
comían: they, you (formal) ate

Irregular verbs[edit | edit source]

There are only three.

Ser (to be)

era: I was
eras: you were
era: he, she, it was, you were
éramos: we were
erais: you were
eran: they were

Notice the accent in the "nosotros" form of "ser" and "ir."

Ir (to go)

iba: I used to go
ibas: you used to go
iba: he, she, it, you used to go
íbamos: we used to go
ibais: you used to go
iban: they used to go

Ver (to see)

veía: I used to see
veías: you used to see
veía: he, she, it, you used to see
veíamos: we used to see
veíais: you used to see
veían: they used to see

That's it! Those are all the irregulars.