Imperfect Tense Conjugation

August 11, 2015 Madeleine K

How to conjugate verbs into the imperfect tense (ongoing past tense), including the irregular conjugation of être.

Imperfect Tense Conjugation

When to use it:

Use the imperfect tense to describe something in the past that was ongoing. In English this is done by saying something "was" happening. For example: "I was running for an hour this morning", "They were diving in Hawai'i when they saw a sea turtle".


How to use it:

Take of the ending of the infinitive verb (“ar”, “ir”, or “re”). Next, add the appropriate ending from the list below. Imperfect is easier than present tense because the endings are the same for ALL VERBS (yay)! ....except, of course, for the exception (below). There's also no agreement needed! (So you don't have to add an "e" for females or "s" for plurals).


Remove: -ar, -ir, -re    Add: -infinitive ending


je = AIS                nous = IONS

tu = AIS                vous = IEZ

il, elle, on = AIT    ils, elles = AIENT

Example:

j'allais= I was going

tu allais= you were going

il allait= he was going

elle allait = she was going 

on allait = one was going

nous allions = we were going

vous alliez = you were going

ils/elles allaient= they were going

Exception- Être 

The only irregular imperfect verb is être. It's conjugated like this:

je = J’étais                    nous = Nous étions

tu = Tu étais                 vous = Vous étiez

il, elle, on = Il était        ils, elles = Ils étaient

*Don't forget your accents!

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