Chapter 7: Past Tense of Verbs

Section 7.1: Past Tense Conjugation (-is)

In Esperanto, the past tense is formed by adding the suffix "-is" to the verb's root. This tense is used to describe actions or events that have already happened. The past tense suffix "-is" is added to the infinitive verb root, and the resulting word is used to indicate past actions.

Here's how the past tense conjugation works for regular verbs:

  • paroli (to speak) becomes parolis (spoke)

  • esti (to be) becomes estis (was/were)

  • mangi (to eat) becomes manĝis (ate)


  • Li parolis Esperanton. - He spoke Esperanto.

  • Vi estis feliĉa. - You were happy.

  • Mi manĝis picon. - I ate pizza.

Section 7.2: Regular and Irregular Verbs

In Esperanto, most verbs follow a regular pattern when conjugating into the past tense, as shown above. However, there are some irregular verbs that do not follow this pattern and must be memorized individually. Some common irregular verbs include:

  • iri (to go) - iris (went)

  • esti (to be) - estis (was/were)

  • fari (to do) - faris (did)


  • Li iris al la lernejo. - He went to school.

  • Ni estis amikoj. - We were friends.

  • Vi faris bonegan laboron. - You did excellent work.

Section 7.3: Talking about Past Events

When talking about past events in Esperanto, use the past tense (-is) to indicate actions or states that occurred in the past. This allows you to narrate stories, describe past experiences, and provide historical context. Here are some phrases and sentence structures to help you discuss past events:

  • Hierau (yesterday): Use to specify a recent past event.

    • Hierau mi vizitis mian avon. - Yesterday, I visited my grandfather.

  • Antau longa tempo (a long time ago): Use to refer to events in the distant past.

    • Antau longa tempo, ili konstruis grandan kastelon. - A long time ago, they built a big castle.

  • Iam (sometime): Use to describe unspecified moments in the past.

    • Iam mi estis en Parizo. - Sometime, I was in Paris.

  • Tiam (then): Use to sequence events in a story or conversation.

    • Mi renkontis ŝin, kaj tiam ni ekparolis. - I met her, and then we started talking.

By mastering the past tense conjugation (-is) and understanding regular and irregular verbs, you'll be able to effectively discuss past events in Esperanto, making your communication more versatile and engaging. Practice using past tense verbs to describe various past experiences and stories.