The pluperfect is a type of verb form, generally treated as one of the
tenses in certain languages, used to refer to an action at a time
earlier than a time in the past already referred to. Examples in
English are: "we had arrived"; "they had written".
The word derives from the
1 Meaning of the pluperfect 2 Examples from various languages
2.1 Greek and Latin 2.2 English 2.3 German 2.4 Dutch 2.5 Swedish 2.6 Romance languages 2.7 Slavic languages 2.8 Other languages
3 Table of forms 4 Different perfect construction 5 See also 6 References 7 External links
Meaning of the pluperfect The pluperfect is traditionally described as a tense; in modern linguistic terminology it may be said to combine tense with grammatical aspect; namely past tense (reference to past time) and perfect aspect (state of being completed). It is used to refer to an occurrence that at a past time had already been started (but not necessarily completed), (e.g. "It had already been raining for a week when the big storm started."). Bernard Comrie classifies the pluperfect as an absolute-relative tense, because it absolutely (not by context) establishes a deixis (the past event) and places the action relative to the deixis (before it). Examples of the English pluperfect (past perfect) are found in the following sentence (from Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning):
A man who for years had thought he had reached the absolute limit of all possible suffering now found that suffering had no limits, and that he could suffer still more, and more intensely.
Here, "had thought" and "had reached" are examples of the pluperfect. They refer to an event (a man thinking he has reached the limit of his capacity to suffer), which takes place before another event (the man finding that his capacity to suffer has no limit), that is itself a past event, referred to using the past tense (found). The pluperfect is needed to make it clear that the first event (the thinking and the supposed reaching) is placed even earlier in the past. Examples from various languages Some languages, like Latin, make pluperfects purely by inflecting the verb, whereas most modern European languages do so using appropriate auxiliary verbs in combination with past participles. The ways in which some languages form the pluperfect are described below. Greek and Latin Ancient Greek verbs had a pluperfect form (called ὑπερσυντέλικος, "more than completed"). An example is ἐτεθύκει, "had sacrificed" – compare the perfect τέθυκε, "has sacrificed". See Ancient Greek verbs. Modern Greek uses auxiliaries to form the pluperfect; examples are given in the table at the end of this article. In Latin, the pluperfect (plus quam perfectum) is formed without an auxiliary verb in the active voice, and with an auxiliary verb plus the perfect passive participle in the passive voice. For example, in the indicative mood:
Pecuniam mercatori dederat. ("He had given money to the merchant"; active) Pecunia mercatori data erat. ("Money had been given to the merchant"; passive)
The subjunctive mood is formed similarly (in this case dedisset and
data esset respectively). In many cases an ablative absolute phrase,
consisting of a noun and perfect participle in the ablative case, may
be used in place of a pluperfect; for example: Pecuniis mercatori
datis, cessit emptor, "When money had been given (more literally:
Money having been given) to the merchant, the buyer left."
For detailed information see
Nachdem ich aufgestanden war, ging ich ins Badezimmer. "After I had got up, I went into the bathroom."
When using modal verbs, one can use either the modal verb in the preterite or the auxiliary (haben for all modals):
Es hatte regnen müssen. "It had rained must.
Es musste geregnet haben. "It must.PRET rained have."
There is a drastic shift of meaning between these variants: the first sentences denote that it "had been necessary" to rain in the past. The second sentence denotes that the speaker assumed that it had rained. Dutch In Dutch, the pluperfect (Voltooid verleden tijd) is formed similarly as in German: the voltooid deelwoord is combined with an auxiliary declination of hebben or zijn, depending on the full lexical verb: Voordat ik er erg in had, was het al twaalf uur geworden. - Before I noticed, it had become noon already. In addition, pluperfect is sometimes used instead of present perfect: Dat had ik al gezien (voordat jij het zag) - lit.: I had seen that (before you did). The parenthesized part is implied and, therefore, can be omitted. Swedish In standard Swedish, the pluperfect (pluskvamperfekt) is similar to pluperfect in a number of other Germanic languages, but with a slightly different word order, and is formed with the preterite form of ha (have in English), i.e. hade (had in English), plus the supine form of the main verb: När jag kom dit hade han gått hem - When I arrived there he had gone home. Romance languages In French the indicative pluperfect (Plus-que-parfait, "more than perfect") is formed by taking the appropriate form of the imperfect indicative of the auxiliaries avoir or être and adding the past participle, j'avais mangé. In Italian there are two pluperfects in the indicative mood: the recent pluperfect (trapassato prossimo) and the remote pluperfect (trapassato remoto). The recent pluperfect is formed correspondingly to French by using the imperfect of the appropriate auxiliary verb (essere or avere) plus the past participle. For example, Ero affamato perché non avevo mangiato I was hungry because I had not eaten. The remote pluperfect is formed by using the preterite of the appropriate auxiliary verb plus the past participle. In the Italian consecutio temporum, the trapassato remoto should be used for completed actions in a clause subjugated to a clause whose verb is in the preterite.
Example (remote pluperfect): "Dopo che lo ebbi trovato, lo vendetti". (After I had found it, I sold it) Example (recent pluperfect): "Dopo che lo avevo trovato, lo vendevo". (After I had found it, I would sell it)
The second example may refer to an event that happened continuously or
habitually in the past. (I.e. "After I used to find it, I would sell
it" OR "After I would find it, I would sell it"). The first example,
being the preterite, refers only to actions completed once in the
remote past, or distant past.
In Spanish there are also two pluperfects (as in Italian, French,
Catalan and Portuguese), being the pluperfect proper
(pluscuamperfecto, or antecopretérito) and the so called pretérito
anterior (or antepretérito). While the former uses the imperfect of
the auxiliary verb haber plus the past participle, the latter is
formed with the simple past of haber plus the past participle. For
example, in pluperfect Había comido cuando mi madre vino (I had eaten
when my mother came), but in pretérito anterior Hube comido cuando mi
madre vino (I had eaten when my mother would come).
In Galician and Portuguese, there is a synthetic pluperfect
(mais-que-perfeito or antepretérito). For example, Quando cheguei,
soube que o meu amigo morrera 'When I came, I found out that my friend
had died'. In Portuguese, however, its use has become mostly literary,
and particularly in spoken communication, the pluperfect is usually
formed using the auxiliary verb ter plus the past participle. For
example, Quando cheguei, soube que o meu amigo tinha morrido. A more
formal way of expressing the pluperfect uses the verb "haver". For
example: Quando cheguei, soube que o meu amigo havia morrido. This
periphrastic construction is not permitted in Galician.
In Judeo-Spanish, the
English German Dutch Latin Romanian Portuguese Spanish Italian French Greek (Modern) Bulgarian Macedonian Polish (Very rare) Ukrainian Pashto Urdu
I had heard ich hatte gehört ik had gehoord audiveram auzisem eu ouvira / tinha ouvido / havia ouvido había oído / oyera avevo sentito j'avais entendu είχα ακούσει бях чул бев слушнал słyszałem był / słyszałam była я почув був / почула була ما اوریدلی وو
میں نے سنا تھا
you had heard (sing.) du hattest gehört jij had gehoord audiverās auziseși tu ouviras / tinhas ouvido / havias ouvido habías oído avevi sentito tu avais entendu είχες ακούσει бе(ше) чул беше слушнал słyszałeś był / słyszałaś była ти почув був / почула була تا اوریدلی وو
تم نے سنا تھا
he/she had heard er/sie hatte gehört hij/zij had gehoord audiverat auzise ele/ela ouvira / tinha ouvido / havia ouvido había oído aveva sentito il/elle avait entendu είχε ακούσει бе(ше) чул беше слушнал/-а/-о słyszał był / słyszała była він почув був / вона почула була / воно почуло було هغه/هغی اوریدلی وو
اس نے سنا تھا
we had heard wir hatten gehört wij hadden gehoord audiverāmus auziserăm nós ouvíramos / tínhamos ouvido / havíamos ouvido habíamos oído avevamo sentito nous avions entendu είχαμε ακούσει бяхме чули бевме слушнале słyszeliśmy byli / słyszałyśmy były ми почули були مونږ اوریدلی وو
ہم نے سنا تھا
you had heard (pl.) ihr hattet gehört jullie hadden gehoord audiverātis auziserăți vós ouvíreis / tínheis ouvido / havíeis ouvido habíais oído avevate sentito vous aviez entendu είχατε ακούσει бяхте чули бевте слушнале słyszeliście byli / słyszałyście były ви почули були تاسی اوریدلی وو
آپ نے سنا تھا
they had heard sie hatten gehört zij hadden gehoord audiverant auziseră eles ouviram / tinham ouvido / haviam ouvido habían oído avevano sentito ils/elles avaient entendu είχαν ακούσει бяха чули беа слушнале słyszeli byli / słyszały były вони почули були دوی اوریدلی وو
انہوں نے سنا تھا
Different perfect construction In German and French there is an additional way to construct a pluperfect by doubling the perfect tense particles. This is called doubled perfect (doppeltes Perfekt) or super perfect (Superperfekt) in German[better source needed] and plus past perfect (temps surcomposé) in French.[better source needed] These forms are not commonly used in written language and they are not taught in school. Both languages allow to construct a past tense with a modal verb (like English "to have", in German "haben", in French "avoir"), for example "I have heard it". This is largely equivalent to the usage in English. The additional perfect tense is constructed by putting the modal verb ("to have") in the past tense as if being the full verb ("I have had") followed by the actual verb in the past particle mode ("I have had heard it"). The same applies to those verbs which require "to be" (Deutsch "sein", French "être") as the modal verb for the construction of the past tense (which would not work in English). In spoken language in Southern Germany the doubled perfect construction has largely replaced the Standard German pluperfect construction. In France it is uncommon in the Northern regions (with Parisian influence) but it can be found widely in Provençal dialects as well as in other regions around the world. In all regions the doubled pluperfect ("I had had heard it") is uncommon although it is possible - all of these forms emphasize the perfect aspect by extending the modal verb so that a doubled pluperfect would add upon the pluperfect in another part of the speech.
German: Ich habe ihm geschrieben gehabt (instead of Ich hatte ihm geschrieben) German: Ich hatte ihm geschrieben gehabt (the doubled pluperfect emphasis) French: Il a eu déjeuné (instead of Il avait déjeuné) French: Il a eu fini de déjeuner (additional emphasis on the perfect aspect)
Conditional perfect Grammatical aspect Perfect (grammar) Pluperfect progressive
^ Comrie, Bernard, Tense, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985, p. 64. ^ Comrie, Bernard, Tense, pp. 78-79. ^ Manuela Nevaci. "Observații privind structura și evoluția conjunctivului în aromână" (in Romanian). Universitatea „Ovidius” Constanţa. p. 2. ^ de:Doppeltes Perfekt ^ fr:Temps surcomposé
Look up pluperfect in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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Nonfuture Nonpast Present
Future perfect Present perfect Pluperfect