Expressing continuing action with the imperfect tense in French (L'Imparfait)

In French, L'Imparfait is used to express action that are still ongoing in the past.

Learn how to use L'Imparfait in French for ongoing actions in the past

Look at these sentences using L'Imparfait:

J'allais au marché...I was going to the market...

Tu parlais de Jean, ce matin.You were talking this morning about John.

Elle courait quand le bus est arrivé.She was running when the bus arrived.

Nous pensions aller à la plageWe were thinking of going to the beach.

Vous étiez là ce matin.You (pl) were there this morning.

 

Note that L'Imparfait is also the tense to express continuing actions in the past, or actions seen in their progression, with no clear beginning or end.

This usage is similar to the Past Continuous (or Past Progressive) in English (i.e. I was doing, he was sleeping).
See also Expressing ongoing actions in the past in French: être en train de.

 

Other uses for L'Imparfait:

Expressing past habits or repeated actions with the imperfect tense in French (L'Imparfait)
Describing and expressing opinions with the imperfect tense in French (L'Imparfait)

See also how to combine L'Imparfait and Le Passé Composé: Using the compound tense (Le Passé Composé) on its own or with the imperfect tense (L'Imparfait)

And to see how to conjugate in L'Imparfait: Conjugate regular verbs in the imperfect tense in French (L'Imparfait) and Conjugate être in the imperfect tense in French (L'Imparfait)

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Examples and resources

J'allais au marché...I was going to the market...
Tu parlais de Jean, ce matin.You were talking this morning about John.
Nous pensions aller à la plageWe were thinking of going to the beach.
Vous étiez là ce matin.You (pl) were there this morning.
Ils mangeaient du lapin cet après-midiThey were eating rabbit this afternoon
Elle courait quand le bus est arrivé.She was running when the bus arrived.
Thinking...