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Forming El Imperfecto Progresivo with estar + gerund (imperfect progressive)

Spanish past tenses have a continuous (progressive) form each to express an action which is continuing or ongoing in the past.

In the case of El Pretérito Imperfecto, this is how the progressive tense is formed.

It follows this pattern for most regular verbs:

Estar in El Pretérito Imperfecto +

-ando (-AR verbs)

 

-iendo (-ER and -IR verbs)

It is very similar to the English past continuous. Look at and listen to these examples:

Yo estaba llamando a mi sobrina.
I was calling my niece.

estabas vendiendo tu casa.
You were selling your house.

Ella estaba bailando sevillanas.
She was dancing sevillanas.

Nosotros estábamos discutiendo sobre política.
We were discussing politics.

Vosotros estabais decidiendo el menú de la boda.
You were deciding on the wedding menu.

Ellos estaban llegando al aeropuerto.
They were arriving at the airport.



ESTAR

Verbs ending in -AR
LLAMAR (to call)

Verbs ending in -ER-IR
APRENDER (to learn)
VIVIR (to live)

estaba

llamando


aprendiendo
viviendo



estabas

estaba

estábamos

estabais

estaban

For irregular gerunds see List of Spanish Irregular Gerunds of the form -iendo and List of Spanish Irregular Gerunds of the form -yendo

See also: Forming El Presente Progresivo with estar + gerund (present progressive)

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

El sábado por la tarde Ana estaba leyendo y Juan estaba escuchando música.
On Saturday afternoon Ana was reading and Juan was listening to music.


estabas vendiendo tu casa.
You were selling your house.


Yo estaba planchando cuando llegó mi madre.
I was ironing when my mother arrived.


Ella estaba bailando sevillanas.
She was dancing sevillanas.


Yo estaba llamando a mi sobrina.
I was calling my niece.


Nosotros estábamos discutiendo sobre política.
We were discussing politics.


Ellos estaban llegando al aeropuerto.
They were arriving at the airport.


Vosotros estabais decidiendo el menú de la boda.
You were deciding on the wedding menu.


Micro kwiz: Forming El Imperfecto Progresivo with estar + gerund (imperfect progressive)
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Q&A

Chris

Kwiziq community member

30 January 2018

1 reply

What is the correct conjugation for 'reir'?

Silvia

Kwiziq language super star

30 January 2018

30/01/18

Hola Chris! "Reír" has an irregular gerund meaning that it doesn´t follow the general rule for -ir verbs. Its correct conjugation for the gerund is "riendo" and not "reiendo". Thanks for your question! Silvia.
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