L’imperfetto (The imperfect)

The Imperfetto is another past tense. It refers usually to actions that you have habitually performed in the past (E.g I “used to” skateboard every weekend). It is also a “descriptive” tense that gives information about a past tense is an ongoing way (E.g I was playing video games all day yesterday!)

This is perhaps the easiest of all of the tenses because it has 1 ending for all three verb types, and only a handful of irregulars!! You just have to replace the “-RE” of the verb and replace it with the following endings:

io -vo              noi -vamo

tu -vi               voi -vate

lui/lei -va       loro -vano

E.g.        LAVARE                                    PRENDERE                                         DORMIRE

io lavavo      noi lavavamo       io prendevo       noi prendevamo        io dormivo   noi dormivamo

tu lavavi      tu lavavate           tu prendevi      voi prendevate             tu dormivi      voi prendevate

lui/lui lavava loro lavavano  lui/lei prendeva loro prendevano  lui/lei dormiva  loro dormivano

**The reflexive verbs follow this pattern, the only difference is you have to  “conjugate” the “-si” as well.

Let’s use “mettersi” (to put clothes on) as our example:

Io mi mettevo                 Noi ci mettevamo

Tu ti mettevi                   Voi vi mettevate

Lui/lei si metteva          Loro si mettevano