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Learn encontrar conjugation in Imperfecto

encontrar means: to find, to encounter
Click to see all conjugation charts of encontrar in every tense

In this Spanish conjugation lesson we will learn how to conjugate the verb encontrar in the Imperfecto tense of the Indicativo mood. It means we will see step by step how to create and translate forms of each grammatical person.

This lesson is specifically about the encontrar verb conjugation. For an overview of Simple Tenses conjugation have a look at the Simple Tenses Conjugation Chart.

You may also see this Video Presentation on how to conjugate verbs in Imperfecto. It’s embedded below, but using the above link you will get additional information on conjugation in this tense and explanation of special cases and exceptions.

How to translate Imperfecto to English

Note that the English phrases provided below next to each conjugation are not direct translations from Spanish to English. They are usually the closest general equivalents. The example differences are:
  • In Spanish conjugation, there is the form usted in the third person singular. But this person does not translate to the English third person singular. It translates to the so called formal you and uses the inflected form which is most often represented as he/she/it in English conjugation charts.
  • Similar situation happens in the third person plural, where ustedes translates to the English plural formal you but uses the form which corresponds to the they form in English.
  • Tenses are used differently in Spanish and English, so the actual translation should always take into account the context and focus on translating the meaning, not just words.
  • In both languages each verb may have multiple meanings and not every meaning translates directly to the other language. Here also, the context and focusing on the particular meaning helps to create the most accurate translation.


Note the timeline

The ability to correctly locate the intended position on the timeline is an important skill for proper choice of tenses. So note the timeline in our lessons and visualize it while speaking, listening, writing and reading. After a bit practice you will be able to select the right tense to use much easier.timeline preterito imperfecto how to conjugate spanish verbs

Step by step instructions

Imperfecto belongs to the simple tenses group, which means that all of the inflected forms are one word long. There are also compound (compuesto) tenses in the Spanish language, where each inflected form consists of two words.The verb encontrar has regular conjugation in the Imperfecto tense of the Indicativo mood. It means that this verb just follows the basic rules for its conjugation group (-ar) without any exceptions or spelling corrections. This tense is really easy, because only three exceptions exist!
The basis for the conjugation in this tense is the stem of the verb, so we need to start by splitting the infinitive into a stem and an ending. It’s really easy to do. Simply remove two letters from the end of the infinitive to get the ending — one of -ar, -er or -ir. What’s left is the stem. So for our verb:
  • the stem is: encontr-
  • and the ending is: -ar
Use the stem encontr- in each subject as the basis for the conjugations, the common prefix or root that each of the forms begins with.
Next, add to this regular stem the endings specific to each person. See the image on the side showing all the six endings. Note both the shapes and colors of the letters. It will help you find patterns and make it easier to remember these endings.Each grammatical person has a specific ending in each of the three conjugation groups -ar, -er, -ir.
endings preterito imperfecto ar how to conjugate spanish verbs
Add the regular ending -aba for the first person singular to create encontraba:
  • yo encontraba – I found
Like previously add the regular ending -abas for the second person singular to create encontrabas:
  • tú encontrabas – you found
And add the regular ending -aba for the third person singular to create encontraba:
  • él encontraba – he found
  • ella encontraba – she found
  • usted encontraba – (formal) you found
And exactly as previously add the regular ending -ábamos for the first person plural to create encontrábamos.
Note difference in spelling

Only the first person plural has an accent here.

This difference exists only in case of the verbs from the -ar group. Other groups always have an accented i in the ending in this tense.So add the accent to get encontrábamos:
  • nosotros encontrábamos – we found
  • nosotras encontrábamos – (feminine) we found
Once more add the regular ending -abais for the second person plural to create encontrabais:
  • vosotros encontrabais – (plural) you found
  • vosotras encontrabais – (feminine, plural) you found
Again add the regular ending -aban for the third person plural to create encontraban:
  • ellos encontraban – they found
  • ellas encontraban – (feminine) they found
  • ustedes encontraban – (formal, plural) you found

¡Ya está! The conjugation is now finished. That’s the final result:

yoencontrabaI found
encontrabasyou found
él/ella/ustedencontrabahe/she/it found
nosotros/nosotrasencontrábamoswe found
vosotros/vosotrasencontrabaisyou found
ellos/ellas/ustedesencontrabanthey found
Click to see all conjugation charts of encontrar in every tense

But do not end your session yet – it is very important to repeat and practice the material in order to retain it. Check below for next steps.

Next Steps to Perfection

  • To practice this conjugation and test yourself try this Conjugation Exercise or the Memory Game
  • To see other conjugation lessons for this verb choose another tense:  
  • For exercises and examples related to encontrar visit our Exercise section
  • To see conjugation charts in all tenses for encontrar visit the Conjugator
  • To explore other learning materials visit the Study section


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