In English, what is imperfect tense?

1 Answer
Nov 12, 2016

See explanation.


A tense is imperfect if it is used to describe an unfinished action. In English all continuous (also called progressive) tenses are imperfect ones.

Example: John was eating breakfast when the telephone rang

An action described by was eating is unfinished so the tense is imperfect.

Example: What are you reading?

The sentence tells about an action which lasts when the words are said, so it is an imperfect tense.

Example: Tomorrow at 10.00 I will be playing tennis.

The speaker says that at the speciffic time in the future he would be in the middle of an action.