10.3.2 formation of the congiuntivo imperfetto 2

For didactic reasons we show on the table below the endings of the indicative and the subjunctive in one single table.

verbs on -are verbs on -ire verbs on -ere
  assi issi essi
  assi issi essi
  asse isse esse
  assimo issimo essimo
  aste iste este
  assero issero essero

There are only very few verbs which forms the imperfetto of the congiuntivo irregularly, but to these group belongs the verb essere, which is so irregular that nothing is left from the radical.

Congiuntivo imperfetto irregular verbs
essere (to be) dare (to give) stare (to stay)
  io fossi io dessi io stessi
  tu fossi tu dessi tu stessi
  lui / lei fosse lui / lei desse lui / lei stesse
  noi fossimo noi dessimo noi stessimo
  voi foste voi deste voi steste
  loro fossero loro dessero loro stessero

Before we start to discuss the congiuntivo in a more systematic way, let's see some example. As in the example before we use a verb which expresses fear, insecurity, hope, etc., in this case credere (believe). (If you speak Spanish or French: In Spanish or French the verb believe (creer / croire) doesn't require the congiuntivo, the indicative is used, what is not very logical because the verb believe expresses insecurity. Italian is more logical in this aspect). Pay attention to the fact that credere is in imperfetto, that's why we have to use the congiuntivo imperfetto. (For mor details see chapter 18.)

Congiuntivo imperfetto of irregular verbs
Io credevo che tu fossi lì.
not: Io credevo che tu era lì.
I thought that you were there.
  Noi credevamo che lui fumasse molto.
not: Noi credevamo che lui fumava troppo.
We thought that he has smoked to much.
  Loro credevano che io gli comprassi il libro.
not: Loro credevano che io comprava il libro.
They thought, that I would by them a book.

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