Imperfetto di essere
Imperfect tense of essere (to be)
Uso del tempo imperfetto
Use of the imperfect tense
The imperfetto tense is called imperfect because it refers to a not perfectly defined period of time of the past. We can’t establish exactly when something happened or when this period of time started and ended. So we can use the imperfect tense to describe conditions and situations as they were/used to be in the past:
- Quando ero piccolo, ero sempre allegro = When I was little, I used to be always cheerful
In this example, we’re referring to our childhood (quando ero piccolo…), which is a period of time with no clear starting and ending point and that’s why we use the imperfect tense.
This tense is often used to describe people and situations in stories, novels and fairy tales to set the background for some events that happened in that context:
- era una giornata fredda e piovosa, quando… = It was a cold and rainy day, when…
Tempo imperfetto di essere
Imperfect tense of essere
Listen and repeat.
- Io ero forte quando ero giovane = I used to be strong, when I was young
- Eri anche tu alla festa ieri ? = Were you also at the party yesterday ? (1)
- Era infelice una volta, ma adesso è felice = He used to be unhappy once, but now he’s happy
- Eravamo così deboli quando eravamo malati = We were so weak when we were ill
- Dove eravate ieri sera ? = Where were you guys yesterday evening ? (1)
- I bambini non erano tranquilli. Erano spaventati = Children were not relaxed. They were scared.
(1) Although it may seem that we’re talking about a specific time in the past (yesterday / yesterday evening), by using the imperfetto tense we are referring to an undefined period of time with no definite beginning or ending: “the whole time you were out” or “the whole time you were at the party” (it’s not clear or specified how long their night out or the party lasted).
Coniugazione di essere al tempo imperfetto
Conjugation of essere in the imperfect tense
Listen and repeat.
|I was; I used to be
|you were; you used to be (informal)
|you were; you used to be (formal)
|he was; he used to be
|she was; she used to be
|we were; we used to be
|you guys were; you guys used to be
|they were; they used to be
Completa queste frasi con l’imperfetto del verbo essere.
Complete these sentences with the imperfetto tense of the verb essere.
Riscrivi le frasi usando l’imperfetto del verbo essere al posto del tempo presente.
Rewrite these sentences using the verb essere in the imperfetto tense instead of the present tense.
Completa la favola con l’imperfetto del verbo essere.
Complete the fairy tale with the imperfetto tense of the verb essere.
If you have any questions or doubts, leave a comment below.