imperfect tense



imperfect tense (plural imperfect tenses)

  1. (grammar) A tense used to describe a past action that is ongoing, incomplete or continuous, or coincident with another action.
    “I was watching tennis” is an example of the imperfect tense.

Usage note: In traditional pedagogy the term "imperfect tense" is used to refer to the German and Swedish simple past or preterite tenses, even though these do not always or even usually specify actions that are ongoing, incomplete, continuous or coincident with another action.

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