The imperfect tense in French
The imperfect tense is, along with the passé composé, one of the main past tenses in French.
How to use the imperfect tense in French?
Imparfait is use to:
-describe past habits
-talking about memories
-Expressing an action in the background when used with the passé composé.
How is the imperfect tense formed?
The imperfect tense is formed from the base of the verb in the present 2nd person plural (“you” form).
For example for the verb “avoir”.
In the present tense: vous avez
The present tense ending is replaced by the following endings:
ais, ais, ait, ions, iez, aient.
The verb “avoir” in the imperfect tense therefore becomes:
Let’s look at some examples:
Describe past habits:
Quand j’habitais à Paris je buvais du vin tous les jours
When I lived in Paris I drank wine every day
Talking about memories:
Quand j’étais jeune, je faisais du tennis
When I was young, I played tennis
With the passé composé:
J’étudiais le français quand tu m’as téléphoné.
I was studying French when you called me.
Other Resources: http://www.columbia.edu/~ab410/drills.html