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Imperfect Indicative Tense - Conjugation.

The Spanish Imperfect tense is used to refer or talk about past actions that took place over an indeterminate period of time, let’s say, actions not seen as finished. On the contrary, remember that there is another Spanish simple past tense, called Preterite, used to express actions that took place in the past, but with a concrete beginning and end (See Preterit and Imperfect).

To conjugate this tense, let’s first remember that there are 3 verbs categories: Verbs ending in –ar, in –er and in –ir. (1st, 2nd and 3rd categories, respectively). Remember? We just have to remove the infinitive ending (-ar, -er, -ir), and add the corresponding imperfect ending.

Regular verbs belonging to the First category (-ar), take the following endings:

(yo) –aba
(tu) –abas
(el / ella / usted) –aba
(nosotros) –ábamos
(vosotros) –abais
(ellos / ustedes) -aban

And regular verbs belonging to the Second and Third categories:

(yo) –ía
(tu) –ías
(el / ella / usted) –ía
(nosotros) –íamos
(vosotros) –íais
(ellos / ustedes) -ían

So here we have a table with the Imperfect tense conjugation: ('Click and listen')

Imperfect Indicative Conjugation – Regular Verbs

Amar (To love)
(1st conjugation)
Beber (To drink)
(2nd conjugation)
Vivir (To live)
(3rd conjugation)
Yo
amaba
bebía
vivía
Tu
amabas
bebías
vivías
El / Ellla /Usted
maba
bebía
vivía
Nosotros
amábamos
bebíamos
vivíamos
Vosotros
amabais
bebíais
vivíais
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes
amaban
bebían
vivían
Click here to listen:
Amar - Imperfect
Click here to listen:
Beber - Imperfect
Click here to listen:
vivir - Imperfect


And what about irregular verbs? Well, we have good news, as there are only three irregular verbs for the imperfect of indicative:

Imperfect Indicative Conjugation – Irregular Verbs

Ser (To be)
Ver (To see)
Ir (To go)
Yo
era
veía
iba
Tu
eras
veías
ibas
El / Ella /Usted
era
veía
iba
Nosotros
éramos
veíamos
íbamos
Vosotros
erais
veíais
ibais
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes
eran
veían
iban
Click here to listen:
Ser - Imperfect
Click here to listen:
Ver - Imperfect
Click here to listen:
Ir - Imperfect


Now let’s see some examples:

Regular Verbs:
Mi esposa cantaba cuando era joven.(My wife used to sing when she was young)
(Infinitive: Cantar)

Manuel bebía leche todos los dias.(Manuel used to drink milk everyday)
(Infinitive: Beber)

Luis nunca decía la verdad. (Luis never used to say the truth)
(Infinitive: Decir)

Irregular Verbs:
Nosotros ibamos al colegio. (We used to go to school)
(Infinitive: Ir)

Ella era la mejor atleta. (She used to be the best athlete)
(Infinitive: Ser)

Veían las montañas desde esta ventana. (They used to see the mountains from this window
(Infinitive: Ver)

As always, for any question or comment, feel free to e-mail me.

¡Hasta pronto!


'Click and listen' glossary: (alphabetical order):

amar: To love
atleta: athlete
beber: To drink
colegio: school
cuando: when
decir: To say, to tell
desde: from
esposa: wife
esta: this (feminine)
ir: To go
joven: young
leche: milk
mejor: best
mi: My
montañas: mountains
nunca: never
ser: To be
todos los días: everyday
ventana: window
vivir: To live
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