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The imperfect tense. (El tiempo imperfecto). Sí, pero con las rebajas que ofrecen en este almacén . . . ¡qué ganga!. Antes, siempre hacía mis compras en las mejores boutiques. Notice the written accent mark!. The conjugation of - ar verbs.

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slide1

The imperfect tense

(El tiempo imperfecto)

Sí, pero con las rebajas que ofrecen en este almacén . . .

¡qué ganga!

Antes, siempre hacía mis compras en las mejores boutiques.

slide2

Notice the written accent mark!

The conjugation of -ar verbs

Just as with other tenses, we always start with the stem of the verb.

hablar

aba

ábamos

habl

habl

abas

abais

habl

habl

only on the nosotros form

aba

aban

habl

habl

There are no irregular -ar verbs in the imperfect!

slide3

The conjugation of -er verbs

comer

ía

íamos

com

com

ías

íais

com

com

ía

ían

com

com

All forms have a written accent over the í.

slide4

The conjugation of -ir verbs

escribir

ía

íamos

escrib

escrib

ías

íais

escrib

escrib

ía

ían

escrib

escrib

All forms have a written accent over the í.

Notice that the conjugation of -ir verbs is identical to that of -er verbs.

slide5

Notice the written accent mark!

There are only three irregular verbs!

ser

era

éramos

eras

erais

only on the nosotros form

era

eran

slide6

Notice the written accent mark!

There are only three irregular verbs!

ir

iba

íbamos

ibas

ibais

only on the nosotros form

iba

iban

slide7

There are only three irregular verbs!

ver

veía

veíamos

veías

veíais

veía

veían

All forms have a written accent over the í.

slide8

The use of the imperfect

The imperfect is always used to express age and time of day in the past:

Yo tenía quince años cuando aprendí a manejar.

I was fifteen years old when I learned to drive.

Eran las diez cuando el tren llegó a la estación.

It was ten o’clock when the train arrived at the station.

slide9

The use of the imperfect

While the preterit tense is used to describe actions viewed as completed, the imperfect is used to . . .

  • Express that which happened habitually
  • Express ongoing actions and states in the past, without reference to their beginning or ending
  • Express mental, physical, and emotional states in the past
  • Describe scenarios and situations in the past
  • Express indirect statements
slide10

The use of the imperfect

Expressing the habitual (used to, would)

One of the classic uses of the imperfect is to describe our childhood habits and activities:

Cuando yo era niño, yo . . .

When I was a child, I . . .

. . . siempre estudiaba solo en mi cuarto.

. . . always studied (used to study) alone in my room.

. . . jugaba con mis amiguitos todos los días.

. . . would play with my friends every day.

slide11

The use of the imperfect

Expressing the habitual (used to, would)

Cuando yo era niño, yo . . .

When I was a child, I . . .

. . . comía cereal cada mañana.

. . . used to eat cereal every morning.

. . . leía tebeos todo el tiempo.

. . . read comic books all the time.

. . . iba todos los veranos a Disneylandia con mis padres.

. . . would go to Disneyland every summer with my parents.

slide12

The use of the imperfect

Expressing the habitual (used to, would)

Of course, the imperfect is not limited to discussing childhood activities. Any habitual activities are expressed in the imperfect.

Pedro comía en ese restaurante todos los sábados.

Pedro used to eat at that restaurant every Saturday.

Ana iba de compras todo el tiempo.

Ana used to go shopping all the time.

slide13

The use of the imperfect

While the preterit tense is used to describe actions viewed as completed, the imperfect is used to . . .

  • Express that which happened habitually
  • Express ongoing actions and states in the past, without reference to their beginning or ending
  • Express mental, physical, and emotional states in the past
  • Describe scenarios and situations in the past
  • Express indirect statements
slide14

The use of the imperfect

Expressing the ongoing (was . . . ing)

The imperfect expresses something that was happening at a given time, without reference to its beginning or ending:

Roberto estudiaba en su cuarto.

Roberto was studying in his room.

Elena lavaba los platos en la cocina.

Elena was washing the dishes in the kitchen.

Ayer a eso de las cuatro yo leía el periódico mientras mi esposa miraba la tele.

Yesterday around four o’clock I was reading the newspaper while my wife was watching TV.

slide15

The use of the imperfect

Expressing the ongoing (was . . . ing)

Frequently the ongoing action is interrupted by another abrupt or completed action that is expressed, of course, in the preterit:

Roberto estudiaba en su cuarto cuando el teléfono sonó.

Roberto was studying in his room when the phone rang.

Elena lavaba los platos en la cocina cuando alguien tocó a la puerta.

Elena was washing the dishes in the kitchen when someone knocked at the door.

slide16

The use of the imperfect

Expressing the ongoing (was . . . ing)

Frequently the ongoing action is interrupted by another abrupt or completed action that is expressed, of course, in the preterit:

Conversábamos con el dependiente cuando Lourdes entró en la joyería.

We were talking with the clerk when Lourdes entered the jewelry store.

Las chicas salían de la tienda cuando Jorge las vio.

The girls were leaving the store when Jorge saw them.

slide17

The use of the imperfect

While the preterit tense is used to describe actions viewed as completed, the imperfect is used to . . .

  • Express that which happened habitually
  • Express ongoing actions and states in the past, without reference to their beginning or ending
  • Express mental, physical, and emotional states in the past
  • Describe scenarios and situations in the past
  • Express indirect statements
slide18

The use of the imperfect

Expressing mental, physical and emotional states

Alicia estaba contenta durante el concierto.

Alicia was happy during the concert.

Nos sentíamos mal después de comer allí.

We felt sick after eating there.

De niño yo siempre creía en Santa Claus.

As a child I always believed in Santa Claus.

Los estudiantes no querían estudiar aunque sabían que era necesario.

The students didn’t want to study even though they knew that it was necessary.

slide19

The use of the imperfect

While the preterit tense is used to describe actions viewed as completed, the imperfect is used to . . .

  • Express that which happened habitually
  • Express ongoing actions and states in the past, without reference to their beginning or ending
  • Express mental, physical, and emotional states in the past
  • Describe scenarios and situations in the past
  • Express indirect statements
slide20

The use of the imperfect

Describing scenarios and situations

Era un día triste. Hacía muy mal tiempo y llovía. Yo leía en mi cuarto y esperaba una llamada telefónica. Anita practicaba el piano en la sala y los niños jugaban a la pata coja en el garaje.

It was a sad day. The weather was very bad and it was raining. I was reading in my room and waiting for a telephone call. Anita was practicing the piano in the living room and the children were playing hopscotch in the garage.

slide21

The use of the imperfect

While the preterit tense is used to describe actions viewed as completed, the imperfect is used to . . .

  • Express that which happened habitually
  • Express ongoing actions and states in the past, without reference to their beginning or ending
  • Express mental, physical, and emotional states in the past
  • Describe scenarios and situations in the past
  • Express indirect statements
slide22

The use of the imperfect

Expressing indirect statements

Carlos dijo que Juan venía a mi casa a las ocho.

Carlos said that Juan was coming to my house at eight o’clock.

Los agentes afirmaron que los espías hablaban muy bien el inglés.

The agents affirmed that the spies spoke English very well.

El volante policíaco representa que el delincuente era bajo y cojeaba un poco.

The police flyer states that the criminal was short and limped somewhat.

slide23

Overview of the use of the imperfect

1. Age and time of day in the past

Yo tenía treinta años cuando me casé.

I was thirty years old when I got married.

Eran las tres cuando Hugo llegó.

It was three o’clock when Hugo arrived.

"used to"

2. Habitual action

De niño, yo siempre comía cereal.

"would"

As a child, I always used to eat cereal.

Íbamos al parque con frecuencia.

We would go to the park frequently.

Hablábamos español en nuestra casa.

We spoke Spanish in our house.

slide24

Overview of the use of the imperfect

3. Ongoing action

"was . . . ing"

Carlos leía el periódico mientras su hijo cortaba el césped.

Carlos was reading the newspaper while his son was mowing the lawn.

4. Description—setting the scene

Era un día muy lúgubre. El cielo estaba nublado y llovía a cántaros.

It was a very gloomy day. The sky was cloudy and it was raining cats and dogs.

slide25

Overview of the use of the imperfect

5. Mental, physical, and emotional states

Juan pensaba que necesitaba más dinero del que tenía para el viaje.

Juan thought that he needed more money than he had for the trip.

6. Indirect statements

Pancho dijo que su hermano vendía su coche.

Pancho said that his brother was selling his car.