The Imperfect



The imperfect tense is used to refer to actions in the past that occurred repeatedly.

I used to walk every day.
Yo caminaba cada día.



The imperfect tense is also used to refer to actions in the past that occurred over an extended period of time.

I used to eat paella frequently.
Yo comía frecuentemente paella.



The imperfect tense is also used to "set the stage" for an event that occurred in the past.

We were coming home when we saw Juan.
Veníamos para casa cuando vimos a Juan.



Actions which are not physical, that is feelings and mental actions, usually use the imperfect tense.

Juan was feeling sick.
Juan estaba enfermo.



The imperfect is frequently associated with phrases that describe the frequency of past actions.

a menudo
often

a veces
sometimes

cada día
every day

cada año
every year

con frecuencia
frequently

de vez en cuando
from time to time

en aquella Úpoca
at that time

frecuentemente
frequently

generalmente
usually

muchas veces
many times

mucho
a lot

nunca
never

por un rato
for awhile

siempre
always

tantas veces
so many times

todas las semanas
every week

todos los días
every day

todo el tiempo
all the time

varias veces
several times



Regular forms of the imperfect are formed by adding the following endings to the stem of the verb:



-ar verbs example: hablar
aba
abas
aba
ábamos
abais
aban
hablaba
hablabas
hablaba
hablábamos
hablabais
hablaban


-er verbs, -ir verbs example: vivir
ía
ías
ía
íamos
íais
ían
vivía
vivías
vivía
vivíamos
vivíais
vivían


Only three verbs are irregular in the imperfect:

ser ver ir
era
eras
era
éramos
erais
eran
veía
veías
veía
veíamos
veíais
veían
iba
ibas
iba
íbamos
ibais
iban


Items of Interest