Imparfait (Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

Introduction to the verb bruler

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The English translation of the French verb “bruler” is “to burn.” The infinitive form is pronounced as “broo-leh.”

The verb “bruler” comes from the Latin word “urere” which means “to burn.” It is most often used in everyday French in the imparfait tense. The imparfait tense is used to describe ongoing actions or states in the past.

Here are three simple examples of its usage in the imparfait tense, along with their respective English translations:

  1. Je brûlais mes vieux documents. (I was burning my old documents.)
  2. Ils brûlaient des branches dans le jardin. (They were burning branches in the garden.)
  3. Tu brûlais des calories en faisant du sport. (You were burning calories by exercising.)

In these examples, the verb “bruler” is used to describe ongoing actions or states in the past, indicating the continuous burning of documents, branches, and calories.

Table of the Imparfait (Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of bruler

Pronoun Conjugation Short Example English Translation
je brûlais Je brûlais les feuilles. I was burning the leaves.
tu brûlais Tu brûlais les cartes. You were burning the cards.
il brûlait Il brûlait le papier. He was burning the paper.
elle brûlait Elle brûlait la lettre. She was burning the letter.
on brûlait On brûlait les vieux vêtements. We were burning the old clothes.
nous brûlions Nous brûlions les branches. We were burning the branches.
vous brûliez Vous brûliez les documents. You were burning the documents.
ils brûlaient Ils brûlaient les livres. They were burning the books.
elles brûlaient Elles brûlaient les photos. They were burning the photos.

Other Conjugations for Bruler.

Le Present (Present Tense) Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

Imparfait (Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler (You’re reading it right now!)

Passé Simple (Simple Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

Passé Composé (Present Perfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

Futur Simple (Simple Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

Futur Proche (Near Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

Plus-que-parfait (Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

Passé Antérieur (Past Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

Futur Antérieur (Future Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

Subjonctif Présent (Subjunctive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

Subjonctif Passé (Subjunctive Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

Subjonctif Imparfait (Subjunctive Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait (Subjunctive Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

Conditionnel Présent (Conditional Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

Conditionnel Passé (Conditional Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

Conditionnel Passé II (Conditional Past II) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

L’impératif Présent (Imperative Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

L’impératif Passé (Imperative Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

L’infinitif Présent (Infinitive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

L’infinitif Passé (Infinitive Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

Le Participe Présent (Present Participle) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

Le Participe Passé (Past Participle) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb bruler

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Bruler – About the French Imparfait Tense

The French imparfait tense, often called the imperfect tense in English, is used to describe actions or states in the past. It’s primarily used to provide background information, set the scene, or describe habitual or ongoing actions in the past.

NOTE: To take a deep dive into all the French tenses then see our article on Mastering French Tense Conjugation.

Formation of the Imparfait Tense

To form the imparfait tense in French, you typically take the present tense nous form of the verb, drop the -ons ending, and add specific endings based on the verb group (regular -er, -ir, -re verbs) or use irregular forms for certain verbs.  

For regular -er verbs:

Take the infinitive form (e.g., parler, finir, rendre) Remove the -er ending Add the imparfait endings: -ais, -ais, -ait, -ions, -iez, -aient 

For regular -ir verbs

Take the infinitive form (e.g., choisir, grandir, finir) Remove the -ir ending Add the imparfait endings: -issais, -issais, -issait, -issions, -issiez, -issaient 

For regular -re verbs

Take the infinitive form (e.g., vendre, attendre, entendre) Remove the -re ending Add the imparfait endings: -ais, -ais, -ait, -ions, -iez, -aient

Common Everyday Usage Patterns

Description of Past Habits

The imparfait is often used to describe habitual actions or situations in the past. For example: “Quand j’étais enfant, je jouais au football tous les jours.” (When I was a child, I used to play football every day.) 

Background Information

It’s used to provide background information or set the stage for a main event in the past. For instance: “Il faisait beau ce jour-là.” (The weather was nice that day.) 

Mental and Emotional States

It’s employed to express emotions, thoughts, or physical sensations in the past. For example: “J’étais content quand il est arrivé.” (I was happy when he arrived.) 

Ongoing Actions

The imparfait describes actions that were in progress or happening when something else occurred in the past. For instance: “Je lisais un livre quand le téléphone a sonné.” (I was reading a book when the phone rang.)

Points to Note About the Imparfait Tense

Passé Composé vs. Imparfait

The imparfait and passé composé (a compound past tense) are often used together to express the completion of an action in the past (passé composé) and provide context or background (imparfait). For example: “Il regardait la télévision quand son ami est arrivé.” (He was watching TV when his friend arrived.) 

Conditional

The imparfait is used as the base for forming the conditional mood in French. For instance, “Je mangerais” (I would eat) is formed from “je mangeais” (I was eating). 

Si Clauses

In hypothetical or “if” clauses (si clauses), the imparfait is often used to express a condition in the past. For example: “Si j’avais de l’argent, j’achèterais une nouvelle voiture.” (If I had money, I would buy a new car.) 

Narration

In storytelling or writing, the imparfait is frequently used to set the scene and describe ongoing actions while the passé composé is used for specific events or actions that interrupted the ongoing ones.
Understanding the French imperfect tense is crucial for effective communication in French. Without it, your conversations will always live in the present!

I hope you enjoyed this article on the verb bruler. Still in a learning mood? Check out another TOTALLY random French verb imparfait conjugation!

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