The pluperfect tense (from
Latin"plus quam perfectum" more than perfect), also called past perfect in English, is a perfectivetense that exists in most Indo-European languages, used to refer to an event that has completed before another past action.
In the sentence "The blind man, who knew that "he had risen", motioned him to sit down again" (from
Charles Dickens, ""), "he had risen" is an example of the pluperfect tense. It refers to an event (someone rises from his seat), which takes place before another event (the blind man notices the fact that the other has risen). Because that second event (the blind man's taking notice) is itself a past event and the past tenseis used to refer to it ("the blind man "knew"), the pluperfect is needed to make it clear that the first event (someone rises) has taken place even earlier in the past.
Types of pluperfect
There are generally two types of pluperfect, corresponding to the two types of perfect:
* "Pluperfect of state", where the consequence of some event is associated with that event during a narration in the
past tense: "He saw that the" door had opened", and children were running through it." is nearly the same as "...He saw that the door "was open", and children...” A pluperfect of state is, in association to the fact of the action, midway between the past tense ("the door opened yesterday") and the predicate adjective that is the past participle ("the door was open since yesterday").
* "Pluperfect of action", where a series of pluperfect sentences carry a narration. This pluperfect is allied more closely to the usual
preteritetense in English. It serves only to place a narration in the "more distant past," without determining its particular time or duration, as follows: "He "had risen" early that morning and "had drunk" coffee earlier than usual."
Examples from various languages
English language, the pluperfect tense is often called the past perfect. It is formed by combining the auxiliary verb"had" with the past participle(e.g. "he had risen" in the above quote from Dickens). Other languages like Latin have special verb forms for the pluperfect tense and do not need to use auxiliary verbs. Thus, the Latin equivalent of 'he had seen' is "viderat". However, most modern European languages combine auxiliary verbs and past participles:
In German, the pluperfect ("Plusquamperfekt" or "Vorvergangenheit", lit. "pre-past") is used in much the same manner, normally in a "nachdem" sentence. The "Plusquamperfekt" is formed with the "Partizip Perfekt" ("Partizip" II) of the full lexical verb, plus the auxiliary verb "haben" or "sein" in its
preteriteform, depending on the full lexical verb in question. For example: "Nachdem ich aufgestanden war, ging ich ins Badezimmer" "After I had got up, I went into the bathroom."
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.
In French, the pluperfect ("plus-qu- parfait") is formed from the
imperfect tenseof the appropriate auxiliary verb ("être" or "avoir") plus the past participle. For example, "Jean avait déjà éteint l'incendie quand les pompiers sont arrivés" "John had already put the fire out when the fire brigade arrived."
In Italian, the pluperfect ("trapassato prossimo") is formed correspondingly to French by using the
imperfect tenseof 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."
In Spanish, the pluperfect ("pluscuamperfecto", or "antecopretérito") is (similarly) formed from the
imperfect tenseof the auxiliary verb "haber" plus the past participle. For example, "Había comido cuando mi madre vino" "I had eaten when my mother came."
In Portuguese, there is a synthetic pluperfect ("mais-que-perfeito"). For example, "Quando cheguei soube que meu amigo morrera" 'When I came I learned that my friend had died'. Its use has become mostly literary, however, and in spoken Portuguese, the pluperfect is usually formed using the auxiliary verb "ter" plus the past participle. For example, "Quando cheguei soube que meu amigo tinha morrido". A more formal way of expressing the pluperfect uses the verb "haver". For example: "Quando cheguei soube que meu amigo havia morrido.
In Judeo-Spanish, the Latin pluperfect forms with little alteration have been preserved (e.g. final /m/ and /t/ are dropped) to express this tense ("pluskuamperfekto"), which is identical in form to the imperfect subjunctive. It has a similar form to the Portuguese, thus the Portuguese example above in Jidyo is, "Kuando yegí suve ke mi haver morera" 'When I came I knew that my friend had died'. It remains the main spoken form, though in some varieties, similarly to Spanish or Portuguese, the pluperfect is formed using the auxiliary verbs "tener" or "aver" plus the past participle. For example, "Kuando yegí suve ke mi haver tuve morido" or "Kuando yegí suve ke mi haver avía morido".
In Romanian, the pluperfect ("mai mult ca perfectul") is expressed without any auxiliary words, using a particular form of the verb. For example, in "Când l-am întrebat, el văzuse deja filmul" 'When I asked him, he had already seen the movie'. The verb "văzuse" is in the pluperfect form of "a vedea" 'to see'. Technically, this form is obtained from the singular third person form of the simple perfect tense by adding specific terminations for each person and number.
In Galician, the pluperfect ( Pretérito pluscuamperfecto) is a simple tense formed by inflecting the verb: "fuxiras" "you (sg.) had fled."
Unlike Russian, which today has only remnants of pluperfect, the
Ukrainian languagestill preserves a distinct pluperfect tense ("давньоминулий час" - "davn'omynulyj čas") that is formed by preceding the verb with "buv" or "bula" (literally, 'was'). It was and still is used in daily speech, especially in rural areas. Being mostly unused in literature during Soviet times, it is now regaining popularity. Here is an example of usage: "Ja vže buv pіšov, až raptom zhadav..." "I almost had gone already when I recalled..."
In Polish, it is constructed with an auxiliary verb "być" 'to be' in a past tense, third person only. It is now old fashioned, used only in the formal register. Example: "Powinieneś był to zrobić" "You should have done it."
In Serbo-Croatian, the pluperfect tense ("pluskvamperfekt") is constructed with the past tense ("perfekt") of the verb to be¨("biti") plus the adjective form of the main verb.For example: "Ja sam bio učio", which means, "I had been studying".
In Finnish, the pluperfect ("pluskvamperfekti") is constructed with an auxiliary verb "olla" 'to be', which is in the past tense. The primary verbs get the past participle endings -nyt/-nut in singular, -neet in plural forms (the 'n' assimilates with certain consonants) and -ttu/-tty/-tu/-ty in passive forms. Still, there are some irregularities, for example "me olimme olleet" "we had been", the primary verb is irregular.
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), and Pecunia mercatori datus erat (Money had been given to the merchant). The subjunctive mood is formed similarly (Dedisset and Datus sit, respectively). Often, an ablative absolute phrase, using a noun and perfect participle in the ablative case, may be used where a pluperfect clause would be used in English. ("Pecunia mercatori data, cessit emptor", "When money had been given to the merchant, the buyer left".)
pluperfect progressive tense
Present perfect tense
* [http://www.lbt-languages.de/english/lernhilfe/lernhilfe.html Grammar Tutorials] - a column overview of the English tenses
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pluperfect tense — noun a perfective tense used to express action completed in the past I had finished is an example of the past perfect • Syn: ↑past perfect, ↑past perfect tense, ↑pluperfect • Hypernyms: ↑perfective, ↑perfective tense, ↑ … Useful english dictionary
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pluperfect Grammar — adjective (of a tense) denoting an action completed prior to some past point of time specified or implied, formed in English by had and the past participle. noun a verb in the pluperfect tense. Origin C15: from mod. L. plusperfectum, from L.… … English new terms dictionary
Pluperfect progressive tense — The pluperfect progressive tense (or past perfect continuous) is a perfective tense in most Indo European languages which shows an event that started in the past and continued up until another time in the past. This grammatical tense may be… … Wikipedia
pluperfect — /pluˈpɜfəkt / (say plooh perfuhkt) Grammar –adjective 1. perfect with respect to a temporal point of reference in the past. For example, in He had done it when I came , had done is pluperfect in relation to came since the action was brought to a… … Australian English dictionary
pluperfect — /plooh perr fikt/ adj. 1. Gram. a. perfect with respect to a point of reference in past time, as had done in He had done it when I came. b. designating a tense or other verb formation or construction with such meaning, as Latin portaveram I had… … Universalium
pluperfect — 1. adjective a) More than perfect b) Pertaining to action completed before or at the same time as another 2. noun a) The pluperfect tense b) A … Wiktionary
pluperfect — pluÂ·perÂ·fect || â€špluË pÉœrfÉªkt / pÉœË n. grammatical tense which places one past action in relation to another past action (Ex: When you arrived, I had already left. I had left = pluperfect tense) … English contemporary dictionary
pluperfect — adj. & n. Gram. adj. (of a tense) denoting an action completed prior to some past point of time specified or implied, formed in English by had and the past participle, as: he had gone by then. n. the pluperfect tense. Etymology: mod.L… … Useful english dictionary