Spanish Imperfect Tense

Beginner Spanish - Level A1

Overview

There are only two sets of endings for regular imperfect verbs in Spanish, one for -ar verbs and one for both -er and -ir verbs. To conjugate a regular verb in the imperfect tense in Spanish, simply remove the infinitive ending (-ar, -er, or -ir) and add the imperfect ending that matches the subject. 

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Spanish A1

 

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The Imperfect Tense in Spanish

As we learned in our previous lesson about the Preterit Tense, we have two forms of the past tense in Spanish: The Preterit Tense and The Imperfect Tense. We have covered the Preterit Tense and all of its irregulars so now it’s time to learn about the Imperfect Tense!

The Imperfect Tense in Spanish is a tense used for actions that are recurring, that do not have a specific start or end, or that were happening when something else interrupted (Preterit Tense). Think about this tense as being something that happened “over and over” while the Preterit Tense was “one and done”.

Let’s look at a few examples in English. The bold parts are the verbs that will be conjugated in the Imperfect Tense:

used to watch Barney as a child.

When he was a kid, he always traveled to Texas.

We were watching tv when the power suddenly went out!

How to conjugate in the Imperfect Tense

The endings for -AR verbs in the Imperfect Tense

-aba

-ábamos

-abas

-abais

-aba

-aban

NOTE: The endings for the yo and él/ella/usted forms are the same. This means the only way to tell the difference is based on the context of the sentence in which it’s used.

The endings for -ER and -IR verbs in the Imperfect Tense

-ía

-íamos

-ías

-íais

-ía

-ían

NOTE: The endings for the yo and él/ella/usted forms are the same. This means the only way to tell the difference is based on the context of the sentence in which it’s used. ALSO, the accent on the first “i” in each of these endings must have an accent. 

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Let’s practice!

Section 1: Choose the Imperfect Tense form of the verb for each sentence.

Section 2: Conjugate the verb in the Imperfect Tense.

Be sure to click READ MORE once you are finished in order to check the answer key!

Section 1

1. Yo siempre (caminé/caminaba) por la playa.  ________________________

2. Cada noche mi familia (cocinó/cocinaba) en la cocina. _______________________

3. Srta. Dixon (estudió/estudiaba) todos los días en la biblioteca. ________________________

4. Mis amigos (trabajaron/trabajaban) siempre los fines de semana. ______________________

5. Natalia y Roberto (se desayunaron/ se desayunaban) cada mañana en Alex’s. __________________
Section 2

6. Cuando era niña yo _________________ (vivir) en Augusta, Ga. 

7. Cuando mi mejor amigo tenía 8 años siempre _______________ (beber) Coca-Cola y no dormía.

8. Paula y Samuel ________________ (hacer) ejercicio todo el tiempo con sus amigos.

9. Mis amigos y yo nunca ________________ (sonreír) en la clase de matemáticas.

10. ¿Tú ______________ (correr) para el equipo de baloncesto?

 

Answer key: 1. Caminaba, 2. Cocinaba, 3. Estudiaba, 4. Trabajaban, 5. Se desayunaban, 6. Vivía, 7. Bebía, 8. Hacían, 9. Sonreían, 10. Corrías

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