Description Imparfait

L' imparfait (description)

You will learn to use the imparfait to:

1. Describe the way things were or used to be in the past.

C'etait la fille d'un planteur. She was the daughter of a plantation owner.

2. Evoke a past state of mind or attitude.

Amantine aimait beaucoup son petit-fils. Amantine loved her grandson dearly.

The imparfait is a simple tense consisting of a stem + endings. To find the stem, remove -ons from the nouse form of the present tense verb and add the imperfect endings which are the same for all French verbs:

-ais -ions
-ais -iez
-ait -aient


je parlais nous parlions
tu parlais vous parliez
il/elle/on parlait ils/elles parlaient


je finissais nous finissions
tu finissais vous finissiez
il/elle/on finissait ils/elles finissaient


je rendais nous rendions
tu rendais vous rendiez
il/elle rendait ils/elles rendaient

Only the verb etre has an irregular stem in the imparfait: et-

j' etais nous etions
tu etais vous etiez
il/elle/on etait ils/elles etaient