Conjugate être in L'Imparfait (imperfect tense)

In L'Imparfait, almost all the verbs follow the same pattern of conjugation. See Conjugate regular verbs in L'Imparfait (imperfect tense).

However (as usual!), the verb être (to be) is slightly irregular.

Have a look:

J'étais déjà mariée quand j'avais 20 ans.I was already married when I was 20.

Tu étais rayonnante pendant ta grossesse.You were beaming during your pregnancy.

C'était le plus beau jour de ma vie.It was the most beautiful day of my life.

Nous étions en vacances lorsqu'ils nous ont cambriolés.We were on holidays when they robbed us.

Vous étiez déjà amoureux à cette époque ?Were you already in love at that time?

Ils étaient meilleurs amis cette année-là.They were best friends that year.

Note that the irregular stem ét- (and NOT êt-) is followed by the regular Imparfait endings: 

je / j' -ais
tu -ais
il/elle/on -ait
nous -ions
vous -iez
ils/elles -aient

 

Notice that L'imparfait is used in a variety of ways where we use very different tenses in English!

When to use the French Imperfect Tense (L'Imparfait)

Expressing continuing action in L'Imparfait (imperfect tense) 

Expressing habits or repeated actions in L'Imparfait (imperfect tense) 

Describing and expressing opinions in L'Imparfait (imperfect tense)

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Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Nous étions en vacances lorsqu'ils nous ont cambriolés.We were on holidays when they robbed us.
C'était le plus beau jour de ma vie.It was the most beautiful day of my life.
Quand elle était petite, ma sœur était la chouchoute de la maîtresse.When she was little, my sister was the [primary school] teacher's pet.
Tu étais rayonnante pendant ta grossesse.You were beaming during your pregnancy.
Ils étaient meilleurs amis cette année-là.They were best friends that year.
J'étais déjà mariée quand j'avais 20 ans.I was already married when I was 20.
Vous étiez déjà amoureux à cette époque ?Were you already in love at that time?
Thinking...