The imperfect in Spanish

In this week’s article, we are going to discuss the Imperfect (imperfecto) and its uses. The imperfect is one of the two simple past tenses in Spanish. It is used when talking about actions that happened in the past which do not have a defined ending.


  • To talk about actions that occurred repeatedly in the past.


Caminaba por el parque cada día. (I would walk through the park every day.)

Mi padre siempre me preparaba el desayuno. (My father would always prepare breakfast for me.)

  • To describe a situation, a setting or a person in the past.


El niño parecía triste. (The kid seemed sad.)

Todos comían cuando llegué. (They were all eating when I arrived.)

  • To give background Information.


La casa era vieja y sucia. (The house was old and dirty.)

La computadora era blanca y grande. (The computer was big and white.)

  • to describe an action that was in process before another action interrupted it.


Mientras cocinabas, me fui a caminar. (While you were cooking, I went for a walk.)

Llamaste cuando me bañaba. (You called when I was taking a shower.)

  • to describe when two actions were happening simultaneously in the past.


Rosa hacía su tarea mientras yo dormía. (Rosa was doing her homework while I was sleeping.)

Here’s a list with some expressions that are typically used to express the Imperfect: 

A menudo Often
Algunas veces Sometimes
Cada día Eveyday
Con frecuencia Frequently
Constantemente Usually, generally
Generalmente Usually
Jamás Never
Muchas veces Many times
Siempre Always
Mientras While
Rara vez Rarely
Raras veces Seldom
Antes Before




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Lisa Ramirez Written by:

Graphic Designer, Blog editor, Spanish Teacher.

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