The imperfect tense in Italian is used to:

  • indicate what used to happen frequently (e.g. Andavo spesso al cinema. I used to go to the cinema often)
  • express an opinion or give a description (e.g. L'essame era difficile. The exam was difficult)
  • express ongoing actions in the past (e.g. Giocavano a calcio. They were playing football)

Regular Verbs[edit | edit source]

-ARE verbs (e.g. parlare- I speak)

parlavo I used to speak
parlavi You (singular) used to speak
parlava He, she, it used to speak
parlavamo We used to speak
parlavate You (plural) used to speak
parlavano They used to speak

-ERE verbs (e.g. vendere- I sell)

vendevo I used to sell
vendevi You (singular) used to sell
vendeva He, she, it used to sell
vendevamo We used to sell
vendevate You (plural) used to sell
vendevano They used to sell

-IRE verbs (e.g. finire- I finish)

finivo I used to finish
finivi You (singular) used to finish
finiva He, she, it used to finish
finivamo We used to finish
finivate You (plural) used to finish
finivano They used to finish

Irregular Verbs[edit | edit source]

The verb essere (to be) is the only irregular verb:

ero I used to be
eri You (singular) used to be
era He, she, it used to be
eravamo We used to be
eravate You (plural) used to be
erano They used to be

Note also:

  • Bere > bevevo
  • Dire > dicevo
  • Fare > facevo
  • Produrre > producevo
  • Attrarre > attraevo

See also Italian Present Tense

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