Imperfect in French
When to use Imparfait ?
The l'imparfait (English: Imperfect tense) is utilized more in French than in English. It's mainly used to speak about activities and actions which have started in the past but not necessarily have to be terminated by now. Moreover you can use it to describe past actions which are habitual or customary.
Some common signal words that are used with the imparfait are:
- toujours (always)
- fréquemment (frequently)
- d'habitude (usually)
- habituellement (usually)
- souvent (often)
- quelquefois (sometimes)
Forms of the Imparfait
The forms of the imparfait are the same for all verbs and do consist of:
- the stem of the 1st person/plural in the present tense.
- the endings -ais, -ais, -ait, -ions ,-iez and -aient.
How to conjugate the Imparfait
|faire (to do)||
I was doing
you were doing
he/she was doing
we were doing
you were doing
they were doing
|voir (to see)||
we were seeing
you were seeing
they were seeing
Note: All verb ending in -cer use -ç (the c with cedille) in the singular and in the 3rd person in the plural form (je commençais, tu commençais, il/elle commençait,..).
You think you understand the difference between the Imparfait and Passé simple? Test your knowledge with our exercises!
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