Imperfetto Tense





I am learning the Imperfect Tense in lesson 9.5.


I noticed it can be used for ‘was/were talking’ and ‘used to talk’.


In English they have somewhat different meanings. ‘Used to talk’ suggests reminiscing about a distant past, whereas ‘was talking’ normally refers to the recent past. 


When an Italian says ‘Parlavo’ , are there any clues to know if they are saying ‘I was talking’ or ‘I used to talk’?







Hi David, 


Thanks for your question!


As you correctly noticed, in Italian the “imperfetto” is used to translate different expressions (was/were doing something; used to do something; did something). The correct meaning can be extracted from the context.


Let's take your example “parlavo”:


e.g. Io parlavo molto da bambina. --→ I used to talk a lot when I was a child. (the speaker is describing a recurrent action that used to happen in the past)


e.g. Mentre parlavo con Marco, Maria mi ha chiamato. --→ While I was talking to Marco, Maria called me. (the speaker is describing what they were doing when something happened)


e.g. Ieri parlava il Presidente. --→ Yesterday, the President talked. (the speaker describes something that happened in the past)



To conclude, you'll definitely need to look at the full sentence and at the context in  order to understand what the speaker is referring to exactly. :) 



Thanks Caterina. 


As always, a superb explanation with examples! 



Thank you for your kind words David, é un piacere! :)

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