The imperfect tense is one of the past tenses used in the Spanish language. It is often used to describe ongoing or repeated actions in the past, set the scene, or provide background information. In this article, we will focus specifically on the conjugation of regular -ar verbs in the imperfect tense.
To form the imperfect tense of regular -ar verbs, we start with the infinitive form of the verb and remove the -ar ending. Then, we add the appropriate imperfect ending based on the subject pronoun. Let’s take a closer look at the conjugation pattern:
- Yo (I) – When referring to oneself, we use the ending “-aba” for -ar verbs in the imperfect tense. For example:
- Hablar (to speak) becomes hablaba (I used to speak, I was speaking).
- Tú (You, informal) – When addressing someone informally, the ending changes to “-abas.” For example:
- Hablar becomes hablabas (You used to speak, You were speaking).
- Él/Ella/Usted (He/She/You, formal) – The ending “-aba” is used for the third person singular. For example:
- Hablar becomes hablaba (He/She used to speak, He/She was speaking).
- Nosotros/Nosotras (We) – When referring to a group that includes yourself, the ending becomes “-ábamos.” For example:
- Hablar becomes hablábamos (We used to speak, We were speaking).
- Vosotros/Vosotras (You all, informal) – In Spain, the ending “-abais” is used for the informal second person plural. For example:
- Hablar becomes hablabais (You all used to speak, You all were speaking).
- Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes (They/You all, formal) – The ending “-aban” is used for the third person plural. For example:
- Hablar becomes hablaban (They/You all used to speak, They/You all were speaking).
Now, let’s see some examples of regular -ar verbs conjugated in the imperfect tense:
- Cantar (to sing)
- Yo cantaba (I used to sing, I was singing).
- Tú cantabas (You used to sing, You were singing).
- Él/Ella/Usted cantaba (He/She used to sing, He/She was singing).
- Nosotros/Nosotras cantábamos (We used to sing, We were singing).
- Vosotros/Vosotras cantabais (You all used to sing, You all were singing).
- Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes cantaban (They/You all used to sing, They/You all were singing).
- Bailar (to dance)
- Yo bailaba (I used to dance, I was dancing).
- Tú bailabas (You used to dance, You were dancing).
- Él/Ella/Usted bailaba (He/She used to dance, He/She was dancing).
- Nosotros/Nosotras bailábamos (We used to dance, We were dancing).
- Vosotros/Vosotras bailabais (You all used to dance, You all were dancing).
- Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes bailaban (They/You all used to dance, They/You all were dancing).
As you can see, the conjugation of regular -ar verbs in the imperfect tense follows a predictable pattern. By understanding these conjugations, you can effectively communicate actions that took place in the past and provide a narrative context.
It is important to note that while regular -ar verbs follow this pattern, irregular verbs have their own specific conjugation forms in the imperfect tense. Therefore, it is necessary to study irregular verbs separately to fully grasp the conjugation rules of the Spanish language.
By mastering the conjugation of regular -ar verbs in the imperfect tense, you will enhance your ability to express yourself fluently and accurately when discussing past events in Spanish. Practice regularly, and soon you will become more confident in your command of this essential tense.
Check out our series of Complete Spanish Grammar articles – everything you’ll ever need to know about Spanish grammar.
Learn Spanish fast with LingoToGo
Try us out with 10 days of unlimited lessons, completely free!
TRY TEN DAYS FOR FREE
Or, learn more about LingoToGo here.
(10 Day Free only available to students in the Americas and Europe. If you’re outside these regions, check out our offers here.)