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Le plus-que-parfait (The Pluperfect tense)


Guide to the Pluperfect tense
Note by orlastudying, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by orlastudying over 8 years ago

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Le plus-que-parfait

The French past perfect, or pluperfect, is used to indicate an action in the past that occurred before another action in the past. The latter can be either mentioned in the same sentence or implied.

J'ai fait du shopping ce matin ; j'avais déjà fait la lessive.   I went shopping this morning; I had already done the laundry.

J'étais déjà sorti (quand tu as téléphoné).   I had already left (when you called).


It is formed in almost the same way as the 'passé composé' and exactly the same rules of agreement apply to both tenses

However, in the 'plus-que-parfait' the auxiliary verb (avoir or être) is in the 'imparfait' form.

Nous voulions te parler parce que nous ne t'avions pas vu hier.   We wanted to talk to you because we didn't see you yesterday.

 Il n'avait pas mangé (avant de faire ses devoirs).   He hadn't eaten (before doing his homework).


Finir                                           to finish

j'avais fini                        I had finishedtu avais fini                     you had finishedil/elle/on avait fini            he/she/one had finishednous avions fini               we had finishedvous aviez fini                 you had finishedils/elles avaient fini         they had finished

aller                                                   to go

j'étais allé(e)                         I had gonetu étais allé(e)                      you had goneil/elle/on était allé(e)s            he/she/one had gonenous étions allé(e)s              we had gonevous étiez allé(e)(s)              you had goneils/elles étaient allé(e)s        they had gone

Marie avait lu tous les romans                                     Marie had read all the novelsIls avaient perdu trop de matchs                                 They had lost too many matchesElle était arrivée un peu avant midi                              She had arrived just before noonIls étaient partis quand tu es arrivé(e)                           They had left when you arrived

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