(1) How is the imperfect tense formed in French? (2) What are 2 exceptions to the rule?


The imperfect tense is formed by taking the nous form of the present tense. For the verb 'jouer' (to play), for example, the nous form is 'jouons' (as in nous jouons).

The -ons is removed from the verb, leaving 'jou' and the imperfect endings (ais, ais, ait, ions, iez, aient) are added: 

je   jouais

tu                         jouais
il/ elle/ il              jouait
nous                    jouions
vous                    jouiez
ils/ elles              jouaient



2 exceptions to this rule are commencer and manger. 

Verbs like manger add an extra -e before -a, -o, -u.

Nous mangeons becomes:

je mangeais

tu mangeais

il/elle/on mangeait

nous mangions vous mangiez

ils/elles mangeaient


With verbs like commencer, the last -c becomes -ç before -a, -o, -u. Nous commençons:

je commençais

tu commençais

il/elle/on commençait

nous commencions

vous commenciez

ils/elles commençaient


NB. The endings for the imperfect tense are always the same.


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