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Past Tense: The Imperfect

The imperfect past tense (l’imperfetto), sometimes called the descriptive past, is generally used to convey actions in progress in the past. It can have a number of English equivalents:

io cantavo --> I was singing
I used to sing
I sang
I did sing
I would sing

To form l’imperfetto, you add an appropriate ending to the verb stem. The following table gives the complete conjugations of regular verbs in -are, -ere, and -ire. The endings added to the stem are in bold.

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