The Imperfect Subjunctive

the Portuguese Imperfect Subjunctive

Using the Imperfect Subjunctive

In general, The subjunctive tense is used when the action you're talking about has a degree of uncertainty. The Imperfect Subjunctive is used for actions that are very unlikely to happen, or to have happened.

It's sometimes called, the Past Subjunctive - that's because it often talks about things that were unlikely to have happened in the past.

Whenever the sentence conveys: were to happen, USE IT.

For example:

If I were to win the lottery, I would buy a new car. > Se eu ganhasse a loteria, compraría um caro novo.

You can also use it when telling a story about something in the past that includes something that did not happen. This is pretty confusing! Let's look at an example:

She asked that I speak with the manager. > Ela pediu que eu falasse com o gerente.

In this case, this is something that did not happen. I did not speak with the manager.

Let's stick to some more common and easier to understand examples!

Triggers for the Imperfect Subjunctive

These often trigger this tense:
if > se
that > que

The key is to ask yourself: would this, could this happen? If no => Imperfect Subjunctive conjugation!

Se ele falasse Português, ele entenderia o Brasil melhor. > If he were to speak Portuguese, he would understand Brazil better.
Se você estivesse aqui, poderíamos jantar juntos. > If you were (to be) here we could have dinner together.
Eu quero que Gisele Bündchen me ligasse hoje! > I want Gisele Bündchen to call me today!
Ela pediu que eu mudasse de casa. > She asked that I move to another house.

not going to happen.

the Conditional tense? That's because this tense is absolutely PERFECT for saying things like, IF such and such were to happen it WOULD BE whatever. This is the classic form and always tells you it's this tense!

I remember it like this:

Lots of good examples of the Imperfect Subjunctive together with the Conditional tense.

Forming the Imperfect Subjunctive

-ar imperfect subjunctive regular verbs

I were to say eu fala sse
you were to say você fala sse
we were to say nós falá ssemos
they were to say eles fala ssem

-er imperfect subjunctive regular verbs

I were to lose eu perde sse
you were to lose você perde sse
we were to lose nós perdê ssemos
they were to lose eles perde ssem

-ir imperfect subjunctive regular verbs

I were to go out eu saí sse
you were to go out você saí sse
we were to go out nós saí ssemos
they were to go out eles saí ssem
The other two Portuguese Subjunctives are Present Subjunctive and the Future Subjunctive.