Imperfect Spanish conjugation

Jun 15, 2021

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Here we will teach you the most important grammar aspects of Spanish and you will learn many things. In this post we will talk about verbs in Spanish (feared by many students of this language).  Spanish is a very nice language. Everything is a path of roses until you start learning the conjugations of Spanish verbs.

But there’s nothing to worry about! With patience and dedication, you can learn anything. Let’s go little by little. 

In this post we will explain the imperfect Spanish conjugation. When we speak and write in Spanish, we must know how to conjugate verbs so that the people we address can understand us. It is essential to make clear what we mean, for example, if we speak about the past, the future, if we express tastes, probabilities, etc. 

The imperfect tense is one of the easiest tenses in Spanish. It is used to talk about actions in which the beginning and the end are not specified. It is easy to conjugate. Let’s see how to do it.

imperfect spanish conjugation

Verbs ending in -ar 

Persona

Terminaciones  
Yo -aba Cantaba
-abas Cantabas
Él/ella -aba Cantaba
Nosotros/as ábamos Cantábamos
Vosotros/as -ábais Cantábais 
Ellos/as -aban

Cantaban 

Verbs ending in -er/-ir 

Persona Terminaciones  Beber Vivir
Yo -ía Bebía Vivía
-ías Bebías Vivías
Él/Ella -ía Bebía Vivía
Nosotros/as -íamos Bebíamos Vivíamos
Vosotros/as -íais Bebíais  Vivíais
Ellos/as -ían  Bebían  Vivían

The past imperfect is used in Spanish to refer to actions that used to be done in the past or actions from which the beginning and the end are not specified. 

  • Cuando era pequeña visitaba a mis abuelos todos los fines de semanas (When I was a child, I used to visit my grandparents every weekend). 

In this example we see how the speaker uses the imperfect mode to say that she used to do something in the past. 

Imperfect Spanish conjugation, examples 1:

  • Hace tres años, estudiaba todos los días en la universidad (3 years ago, I used to study every day at the university).
  • Mi madre tocaba la guitarra cuando tenía 20 años (My mother used to play the guitar when she was 20). 
  • Mi hermana y yo jugábamos en el parque cuando éramos pequeñas (My sister and me used to lay in the park when we were kids). 

 As we mentioned before, it is also used to talk about actions from which the beginning and the end are not specified. 

  • (my sister studied while I took a shower). Mi hermana estudiaba mientras yo me duchaba 

In this example we describe actions whose beginning, and end are not specified. 

Imperfect Spanish conjugation, examples 2:

  • Vi a Marcos cuando caminaba por el parque (I saw Marcos when I was walking through the park) 
  • El teléfono sonó cuando estudiaba en mi habitación (The phone rang when I was studying in my room). 
  • Llegué a casa y mi padre preparaba la cena (I came home and my dad was cooking dinner). 

See? It’s easy. Now we go with some exceptions. If you study Spanish, you will know that there are irregular verbs, if you are learning, surprise! not all verbs are as we have explained. But don’t be nervous, it’s no big deal, in Spanish there are some verbs that we conjugate in a different way. This is a matter of memory. 

Here we will show you the conjugation of the most used irregular verbs: ser (to be) and ir (to go).

it is also used to talk about actions from which the beginning and the end are not specified. 

Persona

SER  IR
Yo Era Iba 
Eras Ibas
Él/ella Era Iba
Nosotros/as Éramos Íbamos
Vosotros/as Érais Íbais
Ellos/as  Eran  Iban 

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Written by: Ana Calero Castillo

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