We’ll look at the full list of conjugations below, but here are some examples that show what this use of the pretérito imperfecto looks like: We were going to eat together, but she couldn’t come. Think back to your childhood. Let’s delve in and explore the uses of the imperfect in Spanish and how to conjugate it with regular and irregular verbs. Creo que te lo enviaba antes. You are talking about an occurrence which has been completed or has come to an end. I think learning to conjugate verbs in Spanish is not as hard as knowing which would be the right tense to use in a given situation. If you want to develop a conversational level of Spanish,this guide will help you get there in the most effective way. With that in mind, let’s explore the rules in more depth. phrases that trigger the past simple tense, phrases that trigger the present perfect tense, https://www.realfastspanish.com/vocabulary/spanish-phrases-that-trigger-the-present-perfect-tense. Español: Mis hermanos y yo íbamos al fútbol con frecuencia. I appreciate your support! Now that you’ve mastered the regular verbs in the Spanish imperfect tense, it’s time to look at the irregular verbs. Your example with “ayer” is good but it’s important to note that “encontré” is the tense that goes with “ayer” because if we removed “encontré” from the sentence then “limpiaba” would become “limpié” (Ayer limpié mi cuarto). In Spanish, there are 3 irregular verbs in the past imperfect tense and one verb that is like one of these 3 but with a prefix. Hola Needra, your example does seem slightly unusual. English: We never used to go to the mountains, we always stayed in the city. In Spanish there are 3 irregular verbs in the past imperfect tense and one verb that is like one of these 3 but with a prefix. “El pretérito perfecto” refers to actions in the past that have already been completed such as “Trabajé ahí” (I … The only down side is that they are verbs that you will use frequently: ser, ver, and ir. What did you use to do back then? When was the last? For more on the differences between the preterite and the imperfect, check out this article! This third phrase trigger is again related to the idea of ‘always’ and doesn’t give an indication of start and end moments for the action. English: Before buying the new car, I used to go to school on foot. With this example, you could argue that the event of ‘not-knowing’ did have an end (right now). - Por ejemplo: Ella estaba cansada y muy triste. I am a happy wife and mom to an adorable baby boy. The first sentence refers to an ongoing habitual action without a defined start and end time. I thought the imperfect would make sense here since the sending action is not definite. Español: Ellos casi siempre llegaban tarde al trabajo. The sending is actually definite because it happened in a defined time period (even if you don’t remember when it was). You now know every conjugation for every verb. If you are ever wondering which Spanish past tense you should use, the pretérito simple  or the pretérito imperfecto, ask yourself the following: If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” use the Spanish imperfect tense! The other phrase that you could add to the end of almost all of the examples is ‘ya no‘ which means ‘not now’, ‘no longer’, or ‘not any more’. Here is how to talk about things we sometimes used to do: English: When I was young I sometimes went to the beach with my best friend. - When I was a student, I was very happy. Ayer hice un pastel. You could have done things differently … unsaid what you said … or made a different decision. In this second scenario, you can’t answer these questions because there isn’t a clearly defined start and end. It’s that simple. 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. Let’s review quickly when we use the past simple: In English, we have special words to express this imperfect tense like “used to” and “would,” but we also make use of the past simple tense to convey the same idea: continuity of action in the past. In the next two sections, you are going to learn every conjugation in existence for the Spanish language in the past imperfect tense. Terms & Conditions Privacy Policy Contact UsSitemap© 2019 HSA. English: Before growing up, I saw the world from a different point of view. Past perfect Spanish requires you to use the verb haber (to have) and conjugate it in the imperfect tense as an auxiliary verb, and then add the necessary past participle of the action verb. If you remember from our past simple lesson, the -ER and -IR verbs used the same endings; in the Spanish imperfect tense, it’s the same! Once you have this tense covered, consider keeping up your momentum by also learning the 12 irregular verbs for the conditional and future tense. Español: Hablábamos durante muchas horas cada vez que nos veíamos. Or would the preterite “envié’ be correct? — I used to eat meat. We make it easy to learn at your own pace. Let’s see what they are! — It was September 29 when it all began. Learn Real Spanish Fast and Stay Motivated. The conjugations for these three verbs are: English: I used to think…  Español: Yo pensaba…, English: They used to return… Español: Ellos volvían…, English: We used to feel… Español: Nosotros sentíamos…. Español: Mis amigos y yo cenábamos cada viernes por la noche en el centro. This is called the imperfect tense, and guess what? Maybe you used to go swimming every summer, or perhaps you would play with your friends every day after school. I used to study every day when I was a student. You could also talk about things you usually used to do. Revising Spanish grammar - imperfect tense Use the imperfect tense to talk about repeated or continuous actions in the past. If you are wondering why we sometimes used the verb estar and sometimes the verb ser, check out our blog post on ser vs. estar! Not really as there are always going to be exceptions; like Ayer is usually in the preterite. — It was 8 o’clock when I finally got home. You’re going to love this. Similarly, if I said ‘I used to shop a lot’, then the question would be when did the shopping habit start and when did it stop? Español: ¿Íbamos a ir al cine a las ocho, verdad? This was helpful. Nadaba cada fin de semana. Spanish also has two forms of the subjunctive imperfect, which are nearly always interchangeable. While ser and ver look quite similar, the imperfect conjugations are not the same. Did you start ‘not-knowing’ the moment your friend got engaged? English: We always used to watch television after dinner. Learn Real Spanish Fast and Stay Motivated. It is also used to tell time, talk about dates, give a person's age, and describe characteristics, conditions, and feelings in the past. When did you first ‘not-know’ they were engaged? English: I almost never used to get up before 8 am. How long did the events in this sentence take place? Here is an illustration that explains what I’m trying to say graphically. Español: Mi padre a veces viajaba por su trabajo. Now with this statement, there isn’t a single event any more or a defined start and end.

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