Latin/Imperfect Tense Lesson 2

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This lesson will continue with the use of the imperfect tense in Latin. Please refer to the previous lesson for the basic paradigms for the imperfect tense: the same paradigms will still be used, even if the verbs are irregular. The only one that is very different is the imperfect tense of possum (although note the similarities to sum):

Latin English
poteram I was able
poterās You were able
poterat He / she / it was able
poterāmus We were able
poterātis You pl were able
poterant They were able

Remember that the imperfect tense is used to express repeated or ongoing action in the past. Later on we will study the perfect tense, which is used for completed or one-time actions. There is some overlap and plenty of possibility for confusion between the two tenses.

New Sentences[edit | edit source]

Latin English Notes
Videre rēgem poterāmus. We were able to see the king.
Emere cibum nōn poterant. They were not able to buy food.
Gāius Anglicē legere poterat. Gaius was able to read English.
Poterāsne/poterātisne Latīnē loquī? Were you able to speak Latin?
Exspectāre nōn poteram. I could not wait./ I was unable to wait.
Mīles signum (aquilam) ferēbat. The soldier was carrying the standard.
Cibum ferebās, sed vīnum ferēbam. You were bringing/carrying food, but I was bringing/carrying wine.
Volēbam volāre. I wanted to fly.
Vestimenta nova volēbant. They wanted new clothes.
Tē videre volēbat. He wanted to see you.
Gāius Lūciae placēbat. Lucia liked Gaius ie, Gaius was pleasing to Lucia.
Mārcō nōn placēbam. Marcus did not like me.
Librī līberīs placēbant. The children liked books. ie, Books were pleasing to the children.
Paula ad scholam ībat. Paula was going to school.
Domum ībam. I was going home.
Quo ībās (ībātis)? Where were you going?
Ad caupōnam ībāmus. We were going to a restaurant.
Mārcus raedās vendēbat. Marcus was selling/ used to sell cars.
Paula librōs multōs emēbat. Paula used to buy many books.
Puerī pīlās jaciēbant(iaciēbant). The boys were throwing the balls.
Puellae pīlās capiebant. The girls were catching the balls.
Aderam. I was present. Like possum, adsum and absum are compounds of the irregular verb sum and thus form their imperfect tense similarly.
Aderatne Lūcia? Was Lucia present?
Lūcia aberat. Lucia was absent.
Trēs discipulī aberant. Three students were absent.
Mātrem adjuvābant(adiuvābant). They were helping Mom.
Vincēbāmus. We were winning (conquering).
Jūs et pānem semper petēbam. I always used to order/request soup and bread.
Mārcus sciēbat Paulam habēre līberōs. Marcus knew that Paula had children. As promised back in the infinitives lessons, we will sneak in a few examples of accusative with infinitive: be very literal and think “Marcus knew Paula to have children” if it helps.
Nesciēbam Gāium esse medicum. I did not know that Gaius was a doctor. ie, I did not know Gaius to be a doctor.
Puellae crēdēbant porcōs volāre posse. The girls used to believe that pigs could fly. ie, the girls were believing pigs to be able to fly.

Practice[edit | edit source]

Practice and learn the words and phrases in this lesson
Step one First learn the words using this lesson:
Step two Next try learning and writing the sentencing using this:
Note that the Memrise stage covers the content for all lessons in each stage.
If you are skipping previous stages you may need to manually "ignore" the words in previous levels (use the 'select all' function)

We also realise we’ve never formally introduced porcus, i = pig. How did we miss that?! Don’t be stressed about the accusative + infinitive construction – it will need more in-depth study further on, but there is no reason not to include some examples occasionally.

Thank you for following this course: we’ll have some more imperfect tense verbs next lesson, including deponent verbs. Valēte et bonam fortūnam!