Être Imparfait Conjugation

Use the chart, examples, and video below to learn how to conjugate être in the imparfait (imperfect) tense.

Être: Imparfait Conjugation Chart

j' étais
tu étais
il/elle/on était
nous étions
vous étiez
ils/elles étaient

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Examples: how to conjugate être in imparfait tense

Here are some examples of conjugating être in imparfait (imperfect) form:

Auparavant, j'étais une activiste communautaire.

In the past, I was a community activist.

Je pensais que nous étions amies.

I thought that we were friends.

Je voulais savoir si vous étiez sérieux.

I wanted to know if you were serious.


  • Être is an irregular verb.
  • Don’t worry about memorising all the imparfait conjugations by heart. Through speaking and listening on a regular basis, you’ll develop an intuitive feel for the rules and exceptions when conjugating verbs.
  • If you want help with grammar, or you just want to become fluent in French, you may want to take personalised 1-on-1 lessons. At LanguaTalk, we find the very best online tutors, and many of them offer lower rates than you’d find in your area. You can check tutors’ reviews and videos, and consider booking a free trial session (no card required).

Reminder of what the French personal pronouns mean:

  • je = I
  • tu = you (singular informal)
  • il/elle = he/she
  • on = we (formal)
  • nous = we (informal)
  • vous= you (singular formal OR plural (both formal and informal))
  • ils/elles = they

How to conjugate être in the imperfect tense - recommended video:

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See how to conjugate être in other tenses:

Conjugate être in the present

Conjugate être in the passé composé

Conjugate être in the future

Conjugate être in the subjunctive