Imparfait (Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb chiner

Introduction to the verb chiner

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The English translation of the French verb “chiner” is “to go bargain hunting” or “to go antiquing.” The infinitive form “chiner” is pronounced as “shee-neh.”

The verb “chiner” originates from the word “chine,” which means “China” in English. In the 19th century, the imported goods from China were highly sought after, particularly antique items. Over time, “chiner” evolved to mean searching, finding, and collecting various objects, including antiques at flea markets, garage sales, or thrift shops. Nowadays, it is commonly used to refer to the act of browsing and buying second-hand items.

Here are three examples of how “chiner” can be used in the imparfait tense in everyday French, along with their English translations:

  1. Quand j’étais jeune, je chinais tous les dimanches matin.
    (When I was young, I used to go bargain hunting every Sunday morning.)

  2. Pendant les vacances, nous chinions dans les brocantes du village.
    (During the holidays, we would go antiquing at the village flea markets.)

  3. Tu chinais souvent dans les vide-greniers près de chez toi.
    (You used to often go bargain hunting at the garage sales near your place.)

Table of the Imparfait (Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of chiner

Pronoun Conjugation Short Example English Translation
je chinait Je chinait des objets anciens. I used to hunt for antique objects.
tu chinais Tu chinais dans les brocantes. You used to hunt in flea markets.
il chinait Il chinait des meubles anciens. He used to hunt for antique furniture.
elle chinait Elle chinait des vêtements vintage. She used to hunt for vintage clothes.
on chinait On chinait des articles de collection. We used to hunt for collectible items.
nous chinions Nous chinions des pièces rares. We used to hunt for rare items.
vous chiniiez Vous chiniiez des livres anciens. You used to hunt for old books.
ils chinaient Ils chinaient des tableaux. They used to hunt for paintings.
elles chinaient Elles chinaient des bijoux. They used to hunt for jewelry.

Other Conjugations for Chiner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Chiner – 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 chiner. Still in a learning mood? Check out another TOTALLY random French verb imparfait conjugation!

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