Imparfait (Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb décoiffer

Introduction to the verb décoiffer

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The English translation of the French verb décoiffer is “to mess up one’s hair” or “to ruffle one’s hair.” The pronunciation of the infinitive form “décoiffer” is: day-kwah-fay.

Décoiffer comes from the combination of the prefix “dé-” which indicates the reversal of an action, and the noun “coiffure” meaning “hairstyle.” It is often used in everyday French in the imparfait tense to describe an ongoing or repeated action in the past.

Here are three examples of décoiffer in the imparfait tense:

  1. Quand j’étais jeune, je me décoiffais tout le temps en jouant au football.
    (When I was young, I would mess up my hair all the time while playing football.)

  2. Nous nous décoiffions souvent en dansant jusqu’au bout de la nuit.
    (We would often ruffle our hair while dancing all night long.)

  3. Tu te décoiffais chaque fois que tu enlevais ton bonnet.
    (You would mess up your hair every time you took off your hat.)

In English, the imparfait tense is often translated as “would + verb” or “used to + verb” to convey the idea of a repeated or ongoing action in the past.

Table of the Imparfait (Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of décoiffer

Pronoun Conjugation Short Example English Translation
je décoiffais Je décoiffais mes cheveux. I was messing up my hair.
tu décoiffais Tu décoiffais ton ami. You were messing up your friend’s hair.
il décoiffait Il décoiffait sa sœur. He was messing up his sister’s hair.
elle décoiffait Elle décoiffait son frère. She was messing up her brother’s hair.
on décoiffait On décoiffait nos amis. We were messing up our friends’ hair.
nous décoiffions Nous décoiffions nos cheveux. We were messing up our hair.
vous décoiffiez Vous décoiffiez vos enfants. You were messing up your children’s hair.
ils décoiffaient Ils décoiffaient leurs cousins. They were messing up their cousins’ hair.
elles décoiffaient Elles décoiffaient leurs cousines. They were messing up their cousins’ hair.

Other Conjugations for Décoiffer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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