Recently I covered the conditional and imperfect tenses in Portuguese, now here’s something to make it easier to master them, at least as far as –er, and –ir verbs are concerned ( –ar verbs are a little different, but we wouldn’t want to make it too easy, would we?)
The thing to remember is that with regular –er and –ir verbs, the suffixes are the same in both tenses, only the verb stem is different.
The common suffixes (verb endings) are: -ia, -ias, -ia, -íamos, -iam
- To form the conditional, these endings are added to the infinitive.
- To form the imperfect, these endings are added to the shortened verb stem (the infinitive minus the –er or –ir).
Let’s use a common –er verb as an example, vender (to sell)
- eu venderia eu vendia
- tu venderias tu vendias
- você/ele/ela venderia você/ele/ela vendia
- nós venderíamos nós vendíamos
- vocês/eles/elas venderiam vocês/eles/elas vendiam
- eu dormiria eu dormia
- tu dormirias tu dormias
- você/ele/ela dormiria você/ele/ela dormia
- nós dormiríamos nós dormíamos
- vocês/eles/elas dormiriam vocês/eles/elas dormiam
So, it’s pretty simple; because the imperfect uses the shortened verb stem, it is less of a mouthful than the conditional, which doesn’t always slip off the tongue easily.
Remember, these five endings also apply to –ar verbs in the conditional (eu falaria = I would speak) but not the imperfect, where a different set of endings is used (eu falava = I was speaking, tu falavas, etc).
For more information, go to the Verbs tab on the main menu bar. An explanation of Portuguese subject pronouns can be found under Grammar on the same menu bar.