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    Imperfect Tense Conjugations

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    Lyssarie
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    Imperfect Tense Conjugations

    Post by Lyssarie on Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:37 pm

    On this page, you will find all of the information you'll need to learn how to conjugate Spanish verbs in the imperfect tense. The imperfect tense is used to describe any action has happened in the past and does not have a defined ending. This can be a tricky concept, so click here if you want to learn how to tell when to use the preterite vs. imperfect. Here is an example of a sentence in the imperfect tense:

    I ran to the store every Tuesday.
    The girls bought clothes every week.

    The bolded verbs above are verbs in the past tense, and they are ongoing events. If we were to write the above sentences in Spanish, we would conjugate them according to the imperfect tense rules. But what are these rules?

    In Spanish, there are generally three possible endings to a basic verb: -ar, -er, and -ir. Most verbs in the Spanish language end with one of these three endings, and each ending has a rule for how to conjugate it. Thankfully, verbs ending in -er and -ir follow the same rules, so we don't have to learn three different methods for conjugation.

    Also, conjugation depends on the subject of your sentence. In Spanish, there are usually six different types of subjects:

    yo  =  Inosotros   =  we
    tú   =   youvosotros   =   you all (Spain)
     él/ella/usted   =   he/she/it     ellos/ellas/ustedes   =   they      

    Now that you know the basics, you can start learning the rules of imperfect tense conjugation! In the charts below, you will find information on how to conjugate in the imperfect tense for -ar, -er, and -ir verbs based on what the subject of your sentence is. As you begin to conjugate imperfect verbs on your own, you might notice that the conjugated forms look odd. That's normal - you're probably doing it right!

    -ar verbs

    yo   =   abanosostros   =   ábamos
    tú   =   abasvosotros   =   abais
       él/ella/usted   =   aba      ellos/ellas/ustedes   =   aban   

    • To conjugate -ar verbs in the imperfect tense, you drop the -ar off of the end of the verb and add the ending that matches the subject of the sentence.
    • Example: In the sentence, "The girls bought clothes every week," the subject is girls and the verb is bought. The Spanish word for 'buy' is comprar, but the word 'bought' is the past tense form of 'buy'. Because the action is happening every week, it is ongoing, so we will use the imperfect tense. To conjugate this verb in the imperfect to match the subject, 'girls', we would drop the -ar from 'comprar' and add the imperfect 'ellas' ending, -aban. This turns the verb 'comprar' into 'compraban'. Therefore, the sentence, "The girls bought clothes every week," in Spanish will be, "Las chicas compraban ropa todas las semanas."

    -er and -ir verbs

    yo   =   íanosotros   =   íamos
    tú   =   íasvosotros   =   íais
       él/ella/usted   =   ía    ellos/ellas/ustedes   =   ían    

    • To conjugate -er and -ir verbs in the imperfect tense, you drop the -er or -ir off of the end of the verb and add the ending that matches the subject of the sentence.
    • Example: In the sentence, "I ran to the store every Tuesday," the subject is I and the verb is ran. The Spanish word for 'run' is correr, but the word 'ran' is the past tense form of 'run'. Because the action is happening every Tuesday, it is ongoing, so we will use the imperfect tense. To conjugate this verb in the imperfect tense to match the subject, 'I', we would drop the -er from 'correr' and add the imperfect 'I' ending, -ía. This turns the verb 'correr' into 'corría'. Therefore, the sentence, "I ran to the store every Tuesday," in Spanish will be, "Yo corría a la tienda todos los Martes."
    • Example: In the sentence, "Mark lived in the United States every year," the subject is Mark and the verb is lived. The Spanish word for 'live' is vivir, but the word 'lived' is the past tense form of 'live'. Because the action is happening every year, it is ongoing, so we will use the imperfect tense. To conjugate this verb in the imperfect tense to match the subject, 'Mark', we would drop the -ir from 'vivir' and add the imperfect 'he' ending, -ía. This turns the verb 'vivir' into 'vivía'. Therefore, the sentence, "Mark lived in the United States every year," in Spanish will be, "Mark vivía en los Estados Unidos todos los años."

    And there you have it! That's all you really need to know about conjugating verbs in the imperfect tense. However, there are a few irregular verbs that don't quite follow these rules, but we'll talk about those in a different lesson! Now, you're one step closer to knowing the Spanish language! Do you have questions? Click here to make a post and ask!

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