sport_volley

Indicatif imparfait

 

What is it?

The imperfect can have different values:

A - Expressing an ongoing past event, without mentionning the time:

• J'étais jeune sur cette photo. I was young on that picture.

• Il faisait nuit, on ne voyait rien, j'avais peur. It was dark, we couldn't see anything, I was afraid.

B - Expressing a habit in the past:

• Tous les samedis je jouais au tennis. I used to play tennis on Saturdays.

• Avant, j'allais en France chaque été. Before, I used to go to France every summer.

Difference with the compound past:

If you are describing an event, focusing on its process, you need the imperfect (often translated by a past progressive in English e.g.: I was eating). If you are speaking about an event that occured at a particular time (usually adding a clear time reference), you are speaking about it as a whole thing that happened at some point in the past: you then need a compound past (usually translate by a past simple in English e.g.: I ate at twelve today).

Contrarily to the imperfect, the compound past doesn't focus on the process but on the result: the action or event is considered as a whole thing, with a beginning and an end.

> Imperfect: the event is lasting for some time and is not completed (focus on the progress, not the result).

> Coumpound past: the event is completed and is referred to as a "dot" on a time line (focus on the result, no the progress).

e.g.: The man was running (description of the ongoing event happening in the past) and suddenly fell (mention of what happened as a whole thing). In French: L'homme courait et soudainement est tombé.

Now, compare the sentences below:

• J’ai marché sur le port hier soir. I had a walk in the harbour yesterday.

• Je marchais sur le port quand j’ai vu l'accident. I was walking in the harbour when I saw the accident.

In the example above, the first phrase uses the imperfect to provide a description of the background (what is happening and in process), whereas the second phrase refers to the fact of witnessing an accident as a whole thing.

NOTE:

To strengthen the progressive aspect, you can use the fix phrase être (imperfect) en train de + Verb (infinitive)

• J'étais en train de lire. I was reading.

• Il était en train de dormir. He was sleeping.

027 past

How is it formed?

Model spl

The stem

• take the "nous" form of the present tense,

• remove the ending "-ons" to get the stem,

• Add the unique endings below to the stem.

 

(Person)

 

Je  

tu  

il/elle/on  

 

nous  

vous  

ils/elles  

(Verb)

 

Stem-ais

Stem-ais

Stem-ait

 

Stem-ions

Stem-iez

Stem-aient

Examples

ALLER

J' allais

Tu allais

Il allait

Nous allions

Vous alliez

Ils allaient

MANGER

Je mangeais

Tu mangeais

Il mangeait

Nous mangions

Vous mangiez

Ils mangeaient

COURIR

Je courais

Tu courais

Il courait

Nous courions

Vous couriez

Ils couraient

FINIR

Je finissais

Tu finissais

Il finissait

Nous finissions

Vous finissiez

Ils finissaient

BOIRE

Je buvais

Tu buvais

Il buvait

Nous buvions

Vous buviez

Ils buvaient

VOULOIR

Je voulais

Tu voulais

Il voulait

Nous voulions

Vous vouliez

Ils voulaient

 

"être" is irregular

ÊTRE

J' étais

Tu étais

Il était

Nous étions

Vous étiez

Ils étaient

AVOIR

J' avais

Tu avais

Il avait

Nous avions

Vous aviez

Ils avaient