learn the imperfetto conjugation in Italian

Master Italian Imperfetto Conjugation: Grammar & Vocabulary

The Imperfetto Conjugation in Italian

The imperfect is a verb tense in Italian used to describe an action that was in progress or repeated in the past. In this lesson, you will learn the imperfetto conjugation in Italian, and we will give some examples.

The imperfetto conjugation in Italian describes an action that happened in the past and was repeated or ongoing for some time. It is usually expressed with the auxiliary verb ‘essere’ or ‘avere’ and the past participle of the main verb.

To construct the imperfect, you must know the root of the verb. For regular verbs, the root is the verb’s infinitive form without the -are, -ere or -ire ending. Once you have the root, add the endings for the first, second, and third person singular (io, tu, lui/lei) and plural (noi, voi, loro).

Examples of Usage in Italian with English Translation:

The endings for the imperfetto conjugation are: -vo, -sti, -va, -vamo, -vate, -vano. For example, “parlare” (to speak) is conjugated as “parlavo” (I was speaking), “parlavi” (you were speaking), “parlava” (he/she was speaking), “parlavamo” (we were speaking), “parlavate” (you all were speaking), and “parlavano” (they were speaking).

  • Io parlavo (I was speaking).
  • Loro avevano studiato (They had studied).
  • Noi eravamo andati (We had gone).

Imperfetto Conjugation in Italian: The Story of “La Lanterna”

stabilimento balneare la lanterna Trieste

When you think about a sea-bathing establishment right on the beach, you picture men, women, and children enjoying their time outside together.

Not so if you enter the sea-bathing establishment “La Lanterna” in Trieste, Italy, where a wall separates men and women. “Triestini” (the citizens of Trieste) love their wall, and no one wants to hear about knocking it down.

The sea-bathing establishment is one of the busiest establishments in the entire area. Let’s learn more about a particular piece of Italian culture while we learn how to conjugate the Italian “imperfetto.”

Italian Version of the Story:

Allo stabilimento balneare “La Lanterna” di Trieste uomini e donne sono separati da un muro bianco alto due metri. Ma di abbatterlo non se ne parla e, a sentire i Triestini, “il muro non si tocca!”

Ancora oggi lo stabilimento balneare, creato alla fine dell’800, rimane uno dei piu’ frequentati della citta’. Affollatissimo di donne di tutte le eta’ e di tutti i ceti sociali,  non e’ mai facile trovare posto.

Le donne stanno bene in piena liberta’ senza gli sguardi maliziosi, curiosi, o imbarazzanti degli uomini. E gli uomini, dall’altra parte del muro, si godono il loro spazio senza donne di torno. Tutti sono contenti, e come dicono a Trieste, evviva il bagno “La Lanterna.”

English Translation:

At the sea-bathing establishment, “The Lantern” in Trieste, men and women are separated by a two meters tall white wall. But no one wants to hear about knocking it down. According to the citizens of Trieste, “No one touches the wall!”

Still today, the sea-bathing establishment, created in the late Eighteen Hundred, remains one of the most patronized of the city. It’s crowded with women of all ages and social classes, and finding a spot in it is never easy.

Women feel complete freedom without naughty, curious, or embarrassing glances from men. And the men, on the other side of the wall, enjoy their space without women around. Everyone is happy, and as they say in Trieste, hurrah for the sea-bathing establishment “The Lantern.”

Further Reading:

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