Imperfect

Imperfect Tense 

The imperfect tense is a past tense, that is can be understood with the acronym CHEATS

Continuous actions – Yo comía. I was eating.
Habits- Cuando yo era niño, yo bailaba. When I was a kid, I used to dance.
Emotional state – Yo estaba feliz.I was happy.
Age – Yo tenía diez años.I was ten years old.
Time – Eran las tres de la tarde.It was three in the afternnon.
Setting – Hacía buen tiempo.The weather was nice. 
Simultaneous actions – Yo escuchaba mientras tú hablabas. 
Think of this tense as the one you would use for descriptions and generally referring to the past, whereas the preterit would be used for specific actions.

 

-AR Verbs 

Singular Plural
Yo
-aba
Nosotros
-ábamos
-abas
Vosotros
-abais
El
Ella
Usted

-aba
Ellos
Ellas
Ustedes

-aban

 

-ER and -IR Verbs

Singular Plural
Yo
ía
Nosotros
-íamos
-ías
Vosotros
-íais
El
Ella
Usted

-ía
Ellos
Ellas
Ustedes

-ían

 

 

There are a few word and phrases that can be a hint to use the imperfect tense:

a veces – sometimes
de vez en cuando – once in a while
a menudo – often
siempre – always
nunca – never
mientras – while
a diario- every day
normalmente – normally, usually
Practice

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