Portuguese Imperfect Tense

Learn how to conjugate verbs in the imperfect tense in Portuguese

Brazilian Portuguese Language Portuguese Language

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32. Portuguese Imperfect Tense (Pretérito Imperfeito)

The pretérito imperfeito tense (imperfect) expresses an action that used to happen but not anymore (used to) or it expresses an action that was happening at the same time as another action (was/were + present participle in English). It is formed by adding these endings to the stem of the verb (remove -ar, -er, or -ir):

-ar verbs -er and -ir verbs
-ava -ávamos -ia -íamos
-avas -áveis -ias -íeis
-ava -avam -ia -iam

Eu falava com ela.
I used to talk to her / I was talking to her.
Eu falava com ela quando ele morreu.
I was talking to her when he died.
Vivia em Portugal.
 I lived in Portugal. (but now I don't)
Eles falavam com as crianças.  They used to speak with the children.
Quem comia bolo de chocolate? Who used to eat chocolate cake?

A few irregular verbs in the imperfect tense include:

ser - to be
eu era nós éramos
tu eras vós éreis
ele/ela/você era eles/elas/vocês eram

pôr - to put
eu punha nós púnhamos
tu punhas vós púnheis
ele/ela/você punha eles/elas/vocês punham

ter - to have
eu tinha nós tínhamos
tu tinhas vós tínheis
ele/ela/você tinha eles/elas/vocês tinham

vir - to come
eu vinha nós vínhamos
tu vinhas vós vínheis
ele/ela/você vinha eles/elas/vocês vinham




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