Two different kinds of tenses are used to express or indicate actions that happened in the past. In the lesson about Simple Past – Passado Perfeito, you can see that it is used to refer to actions that were completed in a recent past. Basically, the Simple Past refers to completed actions that have a definite beginning and a definite end.
The Imperfect tense – Passado Imperfeito – is used to refer to past actions that are not seen as completed, actions that were in progress without a definite beginning or end, or actions that were in progress when another event occurred. A good translation for this kind of sentences is the progressive form (I was, she was, he was, it was, we were, they were….doing something) . Observe that you can use a compound tense, using the verb “to be” (estar) conjugated in the Imperfect tense along with the main verb in the gerund form or a simple tense. Compare the examples below:
(Verbs in the gerund forms are those that have the terminations ando, endo or indo added to their roots)
The imperfect indicates a habit that a person used to do. A habit is a group of actions that were repeated many times, habitually.
Finally, the Imperfect is also used to describe people, places, things, conditions of the past.
When conjugating regular verbs in the Imperfect tense, you just have to preserve the root of the verb and substitute the terminations “ar”, “er” or “ir” for the following bold terminations:
|Person||Amar (to love)||Comer (to eat)||Abrir (to open)|
|Ele / Ela / Você / A gente||amava||comia||abria|
|Eles/ Elas/ Vocês||amavam||comiam||abriam|
Some Important Irregular Verbs:
|Person||Ser (to be)||Ir (to go)||Ter (to have)|
|Ele / Ela / Você / A gente||era||ia||tinha|
|Eles/ Elas/ Vocês||eram||iam||tinham|
Eu era uma criança quando (eu) visitei o Brasil.– I was a kid when I visited Brazil. Ele era uma criança quando (eu) visitei o Brasil.– He was a kid when I visited Brazil. Você era uma criança quando (eu) visitei o Brasil.– You were a kid when I visited Brazil. A gente era criança quando (eu) visitei o Brasil.– We were kids when I visited Brazil. (Nós) éramos crianças quando (eu) visitei o Brasil.– We were kids when I visited Brazil. Eles eram crianças quando (eu) visitei o Brasil.– They were kids when I visited Brazil. Vocês eram crianças quando (eu) visitei o Brasil.– You were kids when I visited Brazil.