<br /><br />I usually think of the imperfect as a past action that is still going on (not completed) on a habitual action. And as a result I can understand its use to describe things of the past. But you have pointed out a whole new slant to the imperfect. <br /><br />Turbamne terrebis? Non terrebam.<br />Will you frighten the crowd? No, I won't (begin to) frighten the crowd.<br /><br />It's a stretch for me though. I would think, why not use th future ("I will not frighten the crowd") or the present ("I won't frighten the crowd")?<br /><br />Or maybe the response in imperfect ("I did not frighten the crowed") is to hint that the person has habitually never frightened the crowed in the past and will continue doing that going forward into the future?<br /><br /><br />It can also, apparently, mean an attempted action or a beginning action.
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