The imperfect tense (or imperfetto)
The endings of the imperfect indicative (also called past descriptive, or imperfetto in Italian) 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:
The imperfect of fare uses the stem fac—:
The imperfect tense is used as follows:
- 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.
- 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.
- To describe a condition which existed at some time in the past (without reference to when it started or ended); typically used to describe states of being, as well as in descriptions of appearance or the weather.
Era molto bella; aveva lunghi capelli neri. — She was very beautiful; she had long black hair.
Learn all items.
to be busy [with]; to attend to
|a.C. (=avanti Cristo)
know (3d. sing., conoscere)
|ognuno everyone||perciò therefore||prima before|
|prodotto produced (past part., produrre)||qualche
some, a few
around, about, toward