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Lesson 2: Pluperfect tense - part 1 | 1 2

Alongside the perfectView the definition of this term - this link opens in a new window and imperfectView the definition of this term - this link opens in a new window tensesView the definition of this term - this link opens in a new window, a further past tenseView the definition of this term - this link opens in a new window exists in Latin. This is called the pluperfect tense. The pluperfect tense (or past perfect in English) is used to describe finished actions that have been completed at a definite point in time in the past. It is easiest to understand it as a past ‘past’ action.

For example:

I had given1 the messuage to Lucy, when I realised2 my mistake.
1first
2second

The messuage had been given to Lucy before the speaker realised his mistake.

In Latin this tense looks like this:

Pluperfect tense
Ego Lucie messuagium dederam
I had given a messuage to Lucy

The endings for the pluperfect are similar to those of the presentView the definition of this term - this link opens in a new window tense:

Latin English  
-o I (first person singular)
-s you (second person singular)
-t he/she/it (third person singular)
-mus we (first person plural)
-tis you (second person plural)
-nt they (third person plural)

The difference is that they are preceded by ‘era-’ and, in the first person singular, the characteristic ‘-o’ of the present changes to ‘-m’ in the pluperfect.

Pluperfect tense endings
Latin English
-eram I
-eras you (singular)
-erat he/she/it
-eramus we
-eratis you (plural)
-erant they

To form the pluperfect tense, remove the ‘-i’ from the third principal partView the definition of this term - this link opens in a new window of the verb and add the relevant ending.

Pluperfect of confirmo, confirmare, confirmavi, confirmatum (1) to confirm

Latin English
confirmaveram I had confirmed
confirmaveras you had confirmed
confirmaverat he/she/it had confirmed
confirmaveramus we had confirmed
confirmaveratis you had confirmed
confirmaverant they had confirmed

Checklist

Are you confident with:

  • The meaning of a pluperfect tense?
  • The form of a pluperfect tense?
Go to part 2
Go to part 2