Conjugate ir in El Pretérito Imperfecto (imperfect past)

Ir (to go) is irregular in El Pretérito Imperfecto:

yo iba
ibas
él / ella / Ud. iba
nosotros / nosotras
íbamos
vosotros / vosotras
ibais
ellos / ellas / Uds.   iban
The only form with an accent is the nosotros form íbamos.


See and listen to these examples:

 

Yo no iba en tren sino en coche.
I didn't go by train but by car.

Tú ibas de chica en chica de joven.
You used to flit from girl to girl when you were young.

Sofía iba de Madrid a Jaén.
Sofía was going from Madrid to Jaen.

Hace años íbamos a ese camping cada verano.
Years ago we used to go to that campsite every summer.

¿Ibais a Ibiza para vuestra luna de miel?
Were you going to Ibiza for your honeymoon?

Iban de vacaciones a una isla bonita.
They were going on holidays to a lovely island.

For the conjugation of regular verbs see:

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Iban de vacaciones a una isla bonita.
They were going on holidays to a lovely island.


Hace años íbamos a ese camping cada verano.
Years ago we used to go to that campsite every summer.


Yo no iba en tren sino en coche.
I didn't go by train but by car.


Sofía iba de Madrid a Jaén.
Sofía was going from Madrid to Jaen.


¿Ibais a Ibiza para vuestra luna de miel?
Were you going to Ibiza for your honeymoon?


Tú ibas de chica en chica de joven.
You used to flit from girl to girl when you were young.


Q&A Forum 4 questions, 4 answers

MarcosB1Kwiziq community member

Do we use "iba" to show intention?

It seems like two of the examples use the imperfect to express an intended action.

¿Ibais a Ibiza para vuestra luna de miel?

Iban de vacaciones a una isla bonita.

In English we would say this as "Were you going to go..." and "They were going to go..."  We don't know if these actions were ever completed or not, so it makes sense to use the imperfect tense.

Is this a valid interpretation and use of the imperfect tense?  Thanks.


Asked 3 weeks ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Marcos,

Yes, you are right! 

Here is a lesson precisely on that. 

I hope it helps.

Saludos

Inma

Do we use "iba" to show intention?

It seems like two of the examples use the imperfect to express an intended action.

¿Ibais a Ibiza para vuestra luna de miel?

Iban de vacaciones a una isla bonita.

In English we would say this as "Were you going to go..." and "They were going to go..."  We don't know if these actions were ever completed or not, so it makes sense to use the imperfect tense.

Is this a valid interpretation and use of the imperfect tense?  Thanks.


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EmanuelB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Substitute with Pretérito perfecto

It seems to me that in many cases we could substitute the imperfect with perfect. The main difference would be that in the former we talk about a repeated activity and in the latter about whether something ever took place or a few times at the most.

Asked 3 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Emanuel

Yes, you could use El Perfecto in lots of these sentences, especially the ones with no time markers, for example in these two:

Sofía iba de Madrid a Jaén.

Sofía was going/ used to go from Madrid to Jaen.

Sofía ha ido de Madrid a Jaén.

Sofía went from Madrid to Jaen.

On this last sentence using El Perfecto, this is talking about either a specific journey that Sofía did at some point in the past without specifying when exactly or simply a sentence explaining part of her trip, again without specyfing on when. 

Saludos

Inma

 

Substitute with Pretérito perfecto

It seems to me that in many cases we could substitute the imperfect with perfect. The main difference would be that in the former we talk about a repeated activity and in the latter about whether something ever took place or a few times at the most.

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EmanuelB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Luna de miel

Could I also say por vuestra luna de miel? In case I would like to emphasize the reason for going here, not the timeframe?

Asked 3 months ago
InmaKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hola Emanuel,

Yes, we could have used "por" in this sentence if we meant "because of"Here is the lesson for this usage of por.

Saludos,

Inma

Luna de miel

Could I also say por vuestra luna de miel? In case I would like to emphasize the reason for going here, not the timeframe?

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EmanuelB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Would it be ok to use fuisteis in the honeymoon sentence?

Asked 6 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

 

Hola Emanuel

Yes, it would be correct but the meaning would change:

¿Fuisteis a Ibiza para vuestra luna de miel?

Did you go to Ibiza for your honeymoon?

¿Ibais a Ibiza para vuestra luna de miel?

Were you going to Ibiza for your honeymoon?

The preterite is expressing a completed action in the past while the imperfect is expressing an ongoing action "to be doing something in the past", or in this case with verb "ir" it has a specific nuance, as if you were saying "Were you planning to go to Ibiza for your honeymoon?

Saludos

Inma

 

Would it be ok to use fuisteis in the honeymoon sentence?

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