Chapter 8 - Imperfect Past Tense
The imperfect past tense describes a past action when that action extended over an unstated time period.
1. the time is not stated: When I was young = Quando ero giọvane
2. the action is continuous: While I was watching television = Mentre guardavo la televisione
3. it is an habitual past action: I used to swim a lot = Io nuotavo tanto.
4. to express a physical or emotional state: He wanted to be a singer =Volẹva essere un cantante
5. to express the person’s past age: When I was fifteen = Quando avẹvo quindici anni
6. to express the past time of day: It was eleven o’clock = Ẹrano le undici
7. to express past weather conditions: It was raining = Pioveva
8. to indicate how long an action continued in the past.
example: Da quando erava sposato? (How long have you been married?)
Ero sposato da dieci anni. (I have been married ten years.)
This tense is used when the word could is used to mean unable (He could not see the tree), or when the word would is used to mean a continuing action (He would go there often).
This tense is used when the word “did” is used to express an action which continued for some time, such as I did type the paper or We did read the manual.
In Italian, there is no translation for the word do when it is used in this way.
Usage note: Because this tense has few irregular forms, it is used more frequently than the simple past tense to express a past action.
Pronunciation note: In the loro form, the accent falls on the third to last vowel. All the other forms in the imperfect tense follow pronunciation rules A and B.
These verb forms are made by dropping the letters –re from the infinitive, and adding the endings.
Group 1 verbs end in -are. The model for this group is comprare, to buy; dropping the “re” leaves compra-
|I bought, was buying, used to buy||Io||compra + vo||compravo (cohm-prAH-voh)|
|You bought, were buying, used to buy||Tu||compra + vi||compravi (cohm-prAH-vee)|
|He, she, who bought, was buying, used to buy||Lei, Lui, Chi||compra + va||comprava (cohm-prAH-vah)|
|We bought, were buying, used to buy||Noi||compra +vamo||compravamo (cohm-prah-vAH-moh)|
|You bought, were buying, used to buy||Voi||compra + vate||compravate (cohm-prah-vAH-tay)|
|They, who bought, were buying, used to buy||Loro, Chi||comprà + vano||comprạvano (cohm-prAH-vah-noh)|
In group 1, the following verbs are irregular in the imperfect past tense
|Like fare:||assuefare, to accustom, inure||contraffare, to counterfeit||disassuefare, to give up a habit|
|disfare, to undo||liquefare, to liquify||putrefare, to putrify|
|rarefare, to rarefy||rifare, to do over, repeat||sfare, to undo, to thaw, melt|
|soddisfare, to satisfy||soprafare, to overwhelm||strafare, to do too much, overdo|
|stupefare, to stupefy||torrefare, to roast||tumefare, to swell|
Group 2 verbs end in -ere. The model for this group is vendere, to sell; dropping the “re” leaves vende-
|I sold, was selling, used to sell||Io||vende + vo||vendẹvo (vayn-dAY-voh)|
|You sold, were selling, used to sell||Tu||vende + vi||vendẹvi (vayn-dAY-vee)|
|He, she, who sold, was selling, used to sell||Lei, Lui, Chi||vende + va||vendẹva (vayn-dAY-vah)|
|We sold, were selling, used to sell||Noi||vende + vamo||vendevamo (vayn-day-vAH-moh)|
|You sold, were selling, used to sell||Voi||vende + vate||vendevate (vayn-day-vAH-tay)|
|They, who sold, were selling, used to sell||Loro, Chi||vendẹ + vano||vendẹvano (vayn-dAY-vah-noh)|
In group 2, the following verbs are irregular in the imperfect past tense
|Like addure:||condurre, to conduct, to lead||dedurre, to deduce|
|indurre, to induce||introdurre, to introduce||produrre, to produce|
|reintrodurre, to reintroduce||ricondurre, to bring back||ridurre, to reduce|
|riprodurre, to reproduce||sedurre, to seduce||tradurre, to translate|
|Like astrarre:||attrarre, to attract||contrarre, to contract|
|decontrarre, to relax||detrarre, to detract||distrarre, to distract|
|estrarre, to extract||protrarre, to protract||ricontrarre, to contract again|
|ritrarre, to retract||sottrarre, to subtract||trarre, to pull, draw toward|
bere, to drink: bevevo, bevevi, beveva, bevevamo, bevevate, bevẹvano
|Like cuǫcere:||commuǫvere, to move emotionally||muǫvere, to move|
|nuǫcere, to harm||percuǫtere, to strike||promuǫvere, to promote|
|ricuǫcere, to recook||rimuǫvere, to remove||riscuǫtere, to draw a salary|
|scuǫcere, to overcook||scuǫtere, to shake||smuǫvere, to budge|
|sommuǫvere, to incite, stir up||stracuǫcere, to overdo|
ęssere, to be: ero, eri, era, eravamo, eravate, ęrano
Like ęssere: rięssere, to be again
|Like pọrre:||antepọrre, to place or put before||appọrre, to append|
|compọrre, to compose||contrappọrre, to contrast||contropropọrre, to counterpropose|
|decompọrre, to decompose||depọrre, to put, set, lay down||dispọrre, to dispose|
|espọrre, to expose||fotocompọrre, to photocompose||frappọrre, to interpose|
|giustappọrre, to juxtapose||impọrre, to impose||indispọrre, to irritate; to annoy|
|interpọrre, to interpose||oppọrre, to oppose||pospọrre, to postpone|
|predispọrre, to predispose||prepọrre, to place before||presuppọrre, to presuppose|
|propọrre, to propose||ricompọrre, to recompose||ridispọrre, to rearrange|
|riespọrre, to expound again||ripọrre, to replace||ripropọrre, to repropose|
|scompọrre, to take apart, dismantle||sottoespọrre, to underexpose||sottopọrre, to place underneath|
|sovraespọrre, to overexpose||sovrappọrre, to superimpose||sovrimpọrre, to overlay|
|suppọrre, to suppose||traspọrre, to transpose|
Group 3 verbs end in -ire. The model for this group is cucire, to sew; dropping the “re” leaves cuci-
|I sewed, was sewing, used to sew||Io||cuci + vo||cucivo (coo-chEE-voh)|
|You sewed, were sewing, used to sew||Tu||cuci + vi||cucivi (coo-chEE-vee)|
|He, she, who sewed, was sewing, used to sew||Lei, Lui, Chi||cuci + va||cuciva (coo-chEE-vah)|
|We sewed, were sewing, used to sew||Noi||cuci + vamo||cucivamo (coo-chee-vAH-moh)|
|You sewed, were sewing, used to sew||Voi||cuci + vate||cucivate (coo-chee-vAH-tay)|
|They, who sewed, were sewing, used to sew||Loro, Chi||cucị + vano||cucịvano (coo-chEE-vah-noh)|
In group 3, the following verbs are irregular in the imperfect past tense.
|Like dire:||benedire, to bless||contraddire, to contradict|
|disdire, to retract||interdire, to interdict, prohibit||maledire, to curse|
|predire, to predict||ridire, to repeat||ribenedire, to bless again|