V. Imperfect tense

The endings of the imperfect indicative (also called past descriptive) of all Italian verbs (except essere) are –vo, –vi, –va, –vamo, –vate, –vano. Except in a very few cases, these endings are attached to the vowel immediately preceding the last r of the infinitive. The imperfect indicative may be translated three ways. For example, parlavo may be translated “I was speaking,” “I used to speak,” or “I spoke.”

parlare-“to speak”                          avere-“to have”

parlavo          parlavamo               avevo             avevamo

parlavi           parlavate                 avevi             avevate

parlava          parlavano                aveva             avevano

divertirsi-“to amuse oneself,” “to enjoy oneself,”

“to have a good time”

mi divertivo                  ci divertivamo

ti divertivi                    vi divertivate

si divertiva                   si divertivano

The imperfect of essere is as follows.

ero                     eravamo

eri                      eravate

era                     erano

The imperfect of fare uses the stem fac-: facevo, facevi, etc.


The imperfect tense is used as follows:

  1. To express incomplete past action, that is, action that was going on at some time in the past (without reference to when it started or ended).

Ella parlava mentre io lavoravo. –“she was speaking while I was working.”

  1. To express habitual or repeated action in the past-something which regularly or repeatedly occurred during some past time.

Andavo a scuola ogni giorno quando ero ragazzo. –“I went [or “used to go”] to school every day when I was a boy.”

  1. To describe a condition which existed at some time in the past (without reference to when it started or ended).

Era molto bella; aveva lunghi capelli neri. –“She was very beautiful; she had long black hair.”


VOCABULARY A

Learn all items.

giovane
young
occuparsi
to be busy at; to attend to
ieri
yesterday
mattina
morning
passeggiata
walk, stroll
pranzo
lunch
presto
early

VOCABULARY B

 a.C. (=avanti Cristo)
B.C.
 allietare
to gladden
 *bene (m.)
good, happiness
cagione (f.)
cause
 campo
field
 colto
cultured
 conosce
know (3d. sing., conoscere)
 disgraziatamente
unfortunately
 godere
to enjoy
 magro
poor, short
 mai
ever
 non..mai
never
o..O 
either..or
*ognuno     everyone *perciò     therefore *prima      before
prodotto    produced (part part., produrre) *qualche
some, a few
scarso
poor, lacking
*secolo  century
simile (m.)
fellowman
udito
heard
*verso
around, about;toward
vicende (f.pl.)
vicissitudes

 

Last revised on October 1, 2018.