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, it bought, was buying, used to buy   Lei, Lui 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 bought, were buying, used to buy         Loro    comprà + vano           comprạvano(cohm-prAH-vah-noh)

In group 1, the following verbs are irregular in the imperfect past tense
fare, to do, make:  facẹvo, facẹvi, facẹva, facevamo, facevate, facẹvano
                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, it sold, was selling, used to sell         Lei, Lui           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 sold, were selling, used to sell               Loro                vendẹ + vano  vendẹvano       (vayn-dAY-vah-noh)
In group 2, the following verbs are irregular in the imperfect past tense
addurre, to adduce:  adducẹvo, adducẹvi, adducẹva, adducevamo, adducevate, adducẹvano
                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
astrarre,to abstract:  astraẹvo, astraẹvi, astraẹva, astraevamo, astraevate, astraẹvano
                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
cuǫcere, to cook:  cocẹvo, cocẹvi, cocẹva, cocevamo, cocevate, cocẹvano
                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
pọrre, to put:  ponẹvo, ponẹvi, ponẹva, ponevamo, ponevate, ponẹvano
                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, it sewed, was sewing, used to sew   Lei, Lui           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 sewed, were sewing, used to sew          Loro                cucị + vano     cucịvano          (coo-chEE-vah-noh)

In group 3, the following verbs are irregular in the imperfect past tense.
dire, to say:  dicẹvo, dicẹvi, dicẹva, dicevamo, dicevate, dicẹvano
                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