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Lesson 13 Imperfect Active Indicative (V-IAI-3S) A. Greek Forms of the Imperfect Tense Singular I was loosing you were loosing he/she/it was loosing

ελυον ελυες ελυε

ελυοµεν ελυετε ελυον

Plural we were loosing you all were loosing they were loosing

The ε at the beginning of the word is called an augment. It indicates that this is a secondary tense that expresses past time. (Verbs beginning with a vowel changes to a long vowel.) In compound verbs the augment comes after the preposition and before the verb stem. If the preposition ends with a vowel, elision takes place. Examples: εκβαλλω becomes εξεβαλλον, αποτεινω becomes απετεινον, etc. The imperfect indicative of ειµι (being verb): Singular I was you were he/she/it was

ηµην ης ην

ηµεν ητε ησαν

Plural we were you all were they were

B. Uses of the Imperfect Tense •

The imperfect tense indicates CONTINUOUS action in PAST time. I am loosing (present) BECOMES I was loosing (imperfect).

Several expressions of the Imperfect: (It always represents continuous action in past time.) The descriptive imperfect is used to give a vivid representation of what was going on in past time. It draws a picture of the movement of the event. Matthew 3:56 gives a good illustration of this graphic use. “Then Jerusalem was going out (εξεπορευετο) to him, and they were being baptized (εβαπτιζοντο) in the Jordan River.” (See middle and passive forms in next lesson.) 1.

The repeated or iterative imperfect shows action repeated in past time. It would be represented by a broken line (---) rather than a continuous line ( ) which would represent the descriptive imperfect. A good illustration is found in Acts 1:7: “They were asking him, “Lord, art thou at this time restoring the kingdom to Israel?” This could well be translated “They kept on asking him.” The context indicates that the same question was asked Jesus frequently by the disciples. See also Luke 14:7.


3. The inceptive imperfect pictures continuous action in past time, but the emphasis is on the beginning of the action rather than its progress; an illustration is Matthew 5:2 εδιδασκεν, which might well be translated “he began teaching them.” It introduces the teaching given in the Sermon on the Mount. See also Luke 5:3, Mark 5:37, Acts 3:8.

New Words: τοτε - then ουκετι - no longer νυν - now, presently µεν...δε - on the one hand...on the other hand (when µεν...δε are used together) µεν - indeed, certainly, truly (when µεν is used alone)