Unidad 4: Estudiando en el extranjero

9. Aprendiendo a utilizar el pasado imperfecto del modo indicativo

You learned about speaking about the past for actions that occur in a specific period of time, discussed a start or end of an action and one time actions or completed actions using the preterit tense. At the beginning of this unit we talked about a second past tense in Spanish: the imperfect in the indicative mood. This tense deals with general descriptions, habitual actions or what one used to do in the past. We have an imperfect tense in the indicative mood and in the subjunctive mood. For now, we will concentrate our studies on the imperfect tense in the indicative mood.

Mira los videos 2.4.6 y 2.4.7 donde vas a encontrar la práctica de las terminaciones para los verbos regulares e irregulares en el pasado imperfecto del modo indicativo. Although the videos refer to these as past imperfect verb tense, they are also known as the imperfect with the following conjugations.

Escribe las conjugaciones para el imperfecto del modo indicativo según los videos que acabas de ver:

Verbos irregulares
Sujeto AR ER/IR SER IR –to go VER
él, ella, Ud.
nosotros (as)
vosotros (as)
ellos, ellas, Uds.

Responde las siguientes preguntas:

1. What is unique about the AR conjugation? ____________________

2. What does each of the ER/IR verbs have? ____________________

3. Why is ver irregular? ____________________

There are certain reasons when one would choose to conjugate a verb in the imperfect tense vs the other past tenses.

Let’s review each one of these reasons:

a) Think of on-going actions in the past or things you used to do.

  • While I was walkingWhile in Spanish is mientras.
  • I used to play volleyball…
  • I was singing

Notice: This first part of the sentence would use verbs conjugated in the imperfect.

b) You may have another part of the sentence that has a different verb tense in it while something else was happening or happened.

Notice: the actions in bold are a one-time event (preterit) vs. the actions in bold and italics are on-going in the past (imperfect).

  • While I was walking, I saw a car accident.
  • I used to play volleyball but then I broke my arm.
  • I was singing at Macaroni Grill, when Simon Cowell discovered me.

c) An intended action or plan.

  • I was going to wear the dress, but I didn’t. Yo iba a llevar el vestido, pero no lo hice.
  • They were going to watch the game. Ellos iban a mirar el partido.

d) For describing things, conditions, age, weather (if no specific time was given), emotions in the past use Imperfect.

  • My first house was white. Mi primera casa era blanca.
  • My mother was very intelligent. Mi madre era muy inteligente.
  • It was sunny. Estaba soleado.
  • What did you do when you were a child? ¿Qué hacías cuando eras niño?
  • I loved the show Scooby! Me encantaba el programa Scooby!
  • Isa was 5 years old when I was 7 years old. Isa tenía 5 años cuando yo tenía 7 años.

    Estudia el PowerPoint 2.4.8 y completa información que se te presenta a continuación. Es muy importante que contestes las diferentes tablas para que puedas dominar el pasado imperfecto en el modo indicativo.

  1. Key timeframes or words to indicate Imperfect tense should be used:
Inglés Español

En el Power Point vas a encontrar ejemplos de oraciones utilizando el imperfecto del indicativo. En la siguiente tabla escribe 6 ejemplos, como se muestra en el ejemplo.

Inglés Español
Weather: It was raining during the game. Llovía durante el juego.

¿Qué nuevo truco de memoria aprendiste en el Power Point? ____________________

Practiquemos—let’s practice with a few simple translations. Remember the imperfect tense can mean “used to” so you do not need a separate verb for “used to”; it is all part of the conjugations.

1. They used to travel every year. ____________________

2. Every fall, my sister would visit me at school. ____________________

3. We used to pack a lot in our suitcases. ____________________

4. We were going to go to the museum. ____________________

5. When I was a kid, we went (used to go) by bus to school each day. ____________________

I use to… A little girl jumping rope. but now…..An old woman.

In the next two translations, you will have a verb in the imperfect and one in the preterit.

6. How old were you when you went to Disney? (Ojo: Age is expressed with tener) ____________________

7. How old were you when you started school? ____________________


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Yo puedo: segundos pasos Copyright © by Elizabeth Silvaggio-Adams & Ma. Del Rocío Vallejo-Alegre is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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