Congiuntivo Imperfetto in Italian – Part One

As you probably know, the Congiuntivo (subjunctive) is an Italian mood mainly used in subordinate clauses to express doubt, uncertainty or personal feelings. It includes four tenses that depend on the verb in the main clause.

The Congiuntivo Imperfetto can be used in different ways depending on what we what to express. In this tip we are going to focus on how to use it to express contemporaneity in the past or in the present between main and secondary clause.

First of all, let’s see how to conjugate it:

ARRIVARE SCRIVERE
IO Arrivassi Scrivessi
TU Arrivassi Scrivessi
LUI/LEI Arrivasse Scrivesse
NOI Arrivassimo Scrivessimo
VOI Arrivaste Scriveste
LORO Arrivassero Scrivessero

 

PARTIRE FINIRE
IO Partissi Finissi
TU Partissi Finissi
LUI/LEI Partisse Finisse
NOI Partissimo Finissimo
VOI Partiste Finiste
LORO Partissero Finissero

 

ESSERE AVERE
IO Fossi Avessi
TU Fossi Avessi
LUI/LEI Fosse Avesse
NOI Fossimo Avessimo
VOI Foste Aveste
LORO Fossero Avessero

 

Now le’t see how to use it!

We can use the Congiuntivo Imperfetto in the secondary clause when we have a Past Tense (for example a Passato Prossimo or Imperfetto) in the main clause.

Italian English
Ieri speravo che mi telefonassi. Yesterday I hoped you called me.
La scorsa settimana ho pensato che fossi arrabbiato con me. Last week I thought you were angry with me.

 

We can also use the Congiuntivo Imperfetto in the secondary clause when we have a Present Conditional in the main clause.

Italian English
Vorrei che tu studiassi. I wish you would study.
Mi piacerebbe che venissi a trovarmi. I would like you to visit me.

 

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