Imperfect Tense

Irregular Verbs

Using the Imperfect Tense

1.To describe circumstances that existed for a period of time in the past and consistent past actions as well as events and actions that used to occur in the past.

(a)Durante la guerra la gente no tenía comida. – During the war the people had nothing to eat.

(b)Mi mama siempre iba a las clases en el gimnasio. – My mom would (used to) always go to the gym.

2.To describe emotions or mental states as well as plans and intentions.

(a)Andrea estaba triste porque su tío estuvo enfermo. – Andrea was sad because her uncle was sick.

(b)Lana quería llamar a su novio pero él llamó antes. – Lana wanted to call her boyfriend but he called first.

3.To describe what was happening when another action occurred (note that the finished action is in the preterit).

(a)Hablábamos de Marcus cuando él llegó. – We were talking about Marcus when he showed up.

(b)Estaban en la calle frente al edificio cuando él explotó. – They were on the street opposite the building when it exploded.

4.To tell time or someone’s age in the past.

(a)Eran las siete de la noche cuando oí la noticia. – It was 7pm when I eard the news.

(b)Megan tenía doce años cuando conoció a Cameron. – Megan was 12 when she first met Cameron.

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