Tense Imperfect [UNDER CONSTRUCTION]

Glossary

Imperfect is a verb tense-form in which the speaker describes an action as imperfective, (describing the action as a process or incomplete). The imperfect almost always describes actions which took place in the past. (e.g., he was eating, they were sleeping, she was running).

Example:

V-TI-1 Example of Imperfect Tense

Example of Imperfect Tense John 6:2
ἠκολούθει δὲ αὐτῷ ὄχλος πολύς
ēkolouthei de auto ochlos polys
It was following and him crowd large

Now a great crowd was following him

Article

Overview

The Tense of a verb is used to indicate the speaker’s perspective or viewpoint of an action or event:

Imperfect tense

The imperfect only occurs in the Indicative mood. Generally, it refers to continuous (or incomplete) action in past time.
  • The continuous aspect may be used to portray an event that has occurred in the past as it was in the process of occurring.
  • The continuous aspect may refer to an event that occurs on an iterative basis in the past, or
  • The imperfect may be used to describe an event that generally occurs (or may be reasonably expected to occur), or
  • Occurs over a long period of time , or
  • even to an action that never occurs but is only contemplated.
  • The Inceptive imperfect describes an event as it begins to occur.

Form

The Imperfect Active Indicative for a verb is formed by using:

Table V-TI-2 Formation of Imperfect Active Indicative for Thematic Verbs

Table V-TI-2 Formation of Imperfect
Active Indicative for
Thematic Verbs
Augment + Present
Active
Stem
+ Connecting
Vowel
+ Secondary
Active
Personal
Ending
->
ε + λυ + ο + ν -> ἔλυον
I was loosing  (or They were loosing)

Table V-TI-2a Formation of Imperfect Middle/Passive Active Indicative

Table V-TI-2a
Formation of Imperfect Middle/Passive Active Indicative
for Thematic Verbs
Augment + Present
Active
Stem
+ Connecting
Vowel
+ Secondary
Middle/passive
Personal
Ending
->
ε + λυ + ο + μην -> ἐλυόμην
I was being loosed

The present tense stem for a verb may be determined by deleting the connecting vowel and personal ending from a present tense verb. If a verb has a prefix or an augment such as in the imperfect tense, the prefix or augment must also be deleted.

The Secondary Active personal endings are shown in Table V-TI-3 Quadrant 2 and in the upper right quadrant of the Verb Master Chart Table 4.

The Secondary middle/passive personal endings are shown in Table V-TI-3b below and the lower right quadrant (Quadrant 4) of the Verb Master Chart Table 4.

Table V-TI – 3 -Quadrant 2 of the Master Chart Table 4 Secondary Active endings

Table V-TI-3
Master Chart 4 - Quadrant 2
Secondary Active Personal Endings
Active Regular Connecting
Vowel
Personal
Ending
Alternate
Ending
Singular Quadrant 2
1 person ἔλυον ο ν
2 person ἔλυες ε ς
3 person ἔλυε (ν) ε -
Plural
1 person ἐλύομεν ο μεν
2 person ἐλύετε ε τε
3 person ἔλυον ο ν σαν

[Note] The “-” in the 3 person singular indicates that no personal ending is used.

Table V-TI-3b - Quadrant 4 of the Master Chart Table 4 Secondary Middle/Passive endings

Table V-TI-3b
Master Chart 4 - Quadrant 4
Secondary Middle/Passive
Endings of Verbs
Middle/Passive Secondary
Personal Endings
Regular Connecting
Vowel
Personal
Ending
Alternate
Ending
Singular Quadrant 4
1 person ἐλυόμην ο μην
2 person ἐλύου ε * σο
3 person ἐλύετο ε το
Plural
1 person ἐλυόμεθα ο μεθα
2 person ἐλύεσθε ε σθε
3 person ἐλύοντο ο ντο

[Note] * In almost every case the sigma (σ) drops out because it is between two vowels and the vowels contract.

Formation of The Imperfect Tense of εἴμι (I am)

Table V-TI-4- εἴμι Imperfect Indicative

εἴμι Imperfect Tense Indicative Mood 1 singular ἤμην 2 singular ἦς 3 singular ἦν 1 plural ἦμεν, ἤμεθα 2 plural ἦτε 3 plural ἦσαν

Imperfect tense –

  • The continuous aspect may be used to portray an event that has occurred in the past as it was in the process of occurring.

The most frequent use of the imperfect tense is to describe action in process that occurred in the past. It is therefore described as continuous (or imperfective). Continuous action is action that is viewed as ongoing, continuous, or as a process from the speaker’s point of view.

Example: V-TI-5

John 7:30 ἐζήτουν οὖν αὐτὸν πιάσαι ezētoun oun auton piasai They were seeking, therefore, him, to seize/arrest Therefore, they were seeking to arrest him

Therefore, they were seeking to arrest him

  • The continuous aspect may refer to an event that occurs on an iterative basis in the past

The iterative imperfect describes repeated action occurring in the past. These repeated actions may have been repeated by a single person (or agent) or multiple persons (or agents).

Example V-TI-6

Acts 3:2

καί τις ἀνὴρ,…, ὃν ἐτίθουν καθ’ ἡμέραν πρὸς τὴν θύραν kai tis anēr,…, hon etithoun kath’ hēmeran pros tēn thyran and a certain man,…, whom they were placing every day before the door/entrance

And a certain man … whom each day they placed at the gate

  • The imperfect may be used to describe an event that generally occurs (or may be reasonably expected to occur)

Similar to the iterative imperfect, the imperfect may also be used to describe an event that generally occurs (or may be reasonably expected to occur.)

Example V-TI-7

Mark 15:6 κατὰ δὲ ἑορτὴν, ἀπέλυεν αὐτοῖς ἕνα δέσμιον kata de heortēn, apelyen autois hena desmion according to/during, and, festival, he usually released to them one prisoner.

Now during the festival, he usually released to them one prisoner,

  • The Imperfect tense used to describe an event that occurs over a long period of time

The imperfect tense may be used to describe an event that occurs over an extended period of time.

Example V- TI-8

Romans 6:17

ὅτι ἦτε δοῦλοι τῆς ἁμαρτίας, ὑπηκούσατε δὲ ἐκ καρδίας hoti ēte douloi tēs hamartias, hypēkousate de ek kardias because you were continually slaves of sin, you obeyed but from the heart

For you were slaves of sin, but you listened from {the} heart.

  • Imperfect tense may be used for an event that is only thought about, but that never occurs.

Example V-TI-9

Lk 1:59

καὶ ἐκάλουν αὐτὸ ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ, Ζαχαρίαν kai ekaloun auto epi tō onomati tou patros autou, Zacharian and, they were going to call, him, after, the,name, of, father,his, Zacharia

they were going to call him after the name of his father, Zechariah.

  • The Inceptive imperfect describes an event as it begins to occur.

Matt 5:2

καὶ ἀνοίξας τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ, ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς kai anoixas to stoma autou, edidasken autous and, having opened the mouth his, he began teaching them

And having opened his mouth, he taught them