Talking About the Past: Passato Prossimo vs Imperfetto (A2-B1)

Italian has two main verb tenses to talk about the past: passato prossimo and imperfetto. They are both used to refer to an event in the past, but they differ from one another and are used for different purposes and situations. In this course we will deal with their usages, differences and nuances and we will put them in practice, especially in oral communication. Approximately 120 hours of prior learning assumed or completed chapter 2 of Nuovo Espresso 2 (students are assumed to have some prior knowledge of these two tenses) is required to enrol into this course.

This class will be delivered online via the online platform Zoom. Enrolling students need to ensure they have an email, a reliable internet connection, microphone/speakers and access to a tablet, smartphone or computer. Classes will consist of a minimum of 1.5 hours virtual class time, together with 30 minutes worth of work to be completed independently. You will be able to contact your tutor by email or phone to ask for guidance and feedback on this work. In addition tutors may set additional homework.


  • Tutor supplied material


  • When to use these two tenses (contexts, situations, purposes).
  • Their connotation and nuances.
  • The adverbs, expressions of time and conjunctions to be used with them.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Have a better understanding of these two tenses.
  2. Master their different usages.
  3. Be more confident and fluent in speaking about the past.

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