The imperfect (abbreviated IMPERF) is a verb form, found in various languages, which combines past tense (reference to a past time) and imperfective aspect (reference to a continuing or repeated event or state). It can therefore have meanings similar to the English “was walking” or “used to walk.” It contrasts with preterite forms, which refer to a single completed event in the past.
Traditionally, the imperfect of languages such as Latin and French is referred to as one of the tenses, although in fact it encodes aspectual information in addition to tense (time reference). It may be more precisely called past imperfective.’
English is an example of a language with no general imperfective and expresses it via different ways (see below and Imperfective aspect in English). When the term “imperfect” used in relation to English it refers to forms much more commonly called past progressive or past continuous (like was doing or were doing). These are combinations of past tense with specifically continuous or progressive aspect.
The term can take on specific conventional meanings in the grammars of particular languages. In German, Imperfekt was used to refer to the simply conjugated past tense (to contrast with the Perfekt or compound past form), but the term Präteritum (preterite) is now preferred, since the form does not carry any implication of imperfective aspect.
“Imperfect” comes from the Latin imperfectus “unfinished”, because the imperfect expresses an ongoing, uncompleted action. The equivalent Ancient Greek term was paratatikós “prolonged”.
To mar or destroy the perfection of.
unisexual: having either male (with stamens) or female (with pistil) flowers, but not with both.
known or expected to be polyphyletic, as of a form taxon.
lacking some elementary organ that is essential to successful or normal activity.
belonging to a tense of verbs used in describing a past action that is incomplete or continuous
something having a minor flaw
a tense of verbs used in describing a past action that is incomplete or continuous
to make imperfect