imperfect – imparfait


Let's Define It!

What's the *imperfect*?

The imperfect (imparfait) is a verb tense used mainly to express an action or state in the past. The thing to remember here is that this action or state is  viewed as non completed (unlike the passé composé).

The imparfait is more about the process or evolution of a past action/state than it is about its finite action. Hence "imperfect".

As such, the imparfait is generally used to

  • set the decor, describe a scene, describe a person's mental or physical condition state (weather, emotions, etc.) --> Il y avait du vent. It was windy, Je me sentais bien. (I was feeling good.)
  • or describe a habitual or repetitive action.  -->Il lavait la voiture tous les weekends. (He used to wash the car every weekend).

To conjugate a verb in the  imparfait, take the nous form of that verb in the present tense and add ais, ais, ait, ions, iez, aient.

Lastly, the French imperfect tense can be used to make a request. In this case, it is always preceded with [Et si...? -->How about...?] Et si on sortait ce soir? How about going out tonight?


Let's Pronounce It!

What does it sound like in French?


Let's Have an Example or Two!

Can a little reinforcement do the trick?

This is the verb parler in the imperfect

  1. je parlais
  2. tu parlais
  3. il parlait
  4. nous parlions
  5. vous parliez
  6. ils parlaient


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