== Imperfect Active Indicative ==
The imperfect is a construct like:
I was seeing.
In Latin it would look like this:
English has a similar construct called progressive past. Actions seem incomplete, and so the imperfect label. For example, "I was running," "We were sailing," "They were calling." Note that 'to be' is always there. Latin, however, would sometimes use imperfect like simple past; accordingly, "We were sailing" could be translated as "We sailed." Other translations of imperfect can be used to/kept such as "We used to sail/We kept sailing."
Regardless of language, the concept of an imperfect is important. Imperfect is called imperfect for a reason - in Latin, the verb "perficere" means to finish/complete, which is what perfect is from. Thus, imperfect, in the grammatical sense, means not finished - that the action could be or could not be completed. Perfect instead means it has been finished - I saw. You have already seen, and it is now completed. I was seeing implies that the action is not yet completed.
The perfect tense, which we will learn later, is a more immediate reference to the past. The name, imperfect, helps you remember its use: in situations where you can't say when an event started or ended or happened, you must use the imperfect.
In situations where you can know when an event started or ended or happened, use the perfect.
You conjugate the imperfect tense this way:
verb + ba + personal ending
The endings for imperfect are:
Note that the only thing we add are ba + the personal endings (the same as in the present tense) to the infinitive stem. This gives us the imperfect conjugation.
Note that in third and fourth conjugations, you will have to form it differently. There is *no* rule to explain this, it just is, although there are memorization techniques that can help.
venire is 4th conjugation and is formed like:
For third conjugation, an example used in some textbooks/study guides is: capere (to capture or seize)
Note that it is easiest to think of what the endings -ere and ire lack. The imperfect -ba + the personal ending, which we can call the imperfect conjugation, must be prefixed by ie.
A few examples:
amabam - I was loving (A-conjugation--1st)
monebatis - You were warning [object/personage] (of something negative) (Pl.) (2nd Conjugation)
vincebamus - We were defeating (long I-conjugation--3rd conjugation)
capiebant - They were catching (short I-conjugation--3rd conjugation)
pellebat - She/he/it was propelling (drive something (not a vehicle), propel something) (consonantic conjugation)
(Wiki-reading tips: See discussion. Some of the above may be unclear, however the clarifying '--' and '/' indicate verification. We may not know what the original author intended, but we know what conjugations the examples are.)
=== Exercises ===
Translate from Latin to English
1. dum sol fulgebat, puer ambulabat ad forum
2. in foro multus cibus aderat et femina cibum vendebat
3. puer cibum emere volebat sed satis pecuniae (enough money) non habebat
4. puer se vertit (turned (lit. himself) around) et tristis domum redibat
5. sed ubi domum rediit (returned) cena parata erat quod mater semper cenam parat