Pluperfect in Croatian

When to use the pluperfect in Croatian?

The pluperfect or pluskvamperfekt is a grammatical tense that we use to talk about:

1. An action that happened before another action in the past

Kada je Marko došao u Argentinu, tamo su već bili živjeli neki Hrvati. - When Marko came to Argentina, there had already lived some Croats.

enlightenedIn daily conversations the pluperfect is replaced by perfect tense.

Signal words

Here are some time markers that will help you to use it properly.

Croatian English
Kada When
Prije Before
Nakon After



Kada je on došao kući, ja sam već bio otišao. - When he came at home, I had already gone.

Prije nego sam otišao na praznike, bio sam kupio sve potrebne stvari. - Before I went to vacation I had bought all the necessary things.

Verb conjugation

The pluperfect tense is formed by: perfect or imperfect form of the auxiliary verb "Biti" + endings for the verbal adjective (endings in the singular: -o, -la,  -lo and for the plural -li, -le, -la) are added to the corresponding verb.

Conjugation of the auxiliary verb "Biti"

Formation with perfect

enlightenedAuxiliary and given verb change in gender!

Person Masculine Feminine
Ja sam bio bio sam bila bila
Ti si bio bio si bila bila
On/Ona je bio bio je bila bila
Mi smo bili bili smo bile bile
Vi ste bili bili ste bile bile
Oni/One su bili bili su bile bile


Formation with imperfect

Person Masculine Feminine
Ja bijah bio bijah bila
Ti bijaše bio bijaše bila
On/Ona bijaše bio bijaše bila
Mi bijasmo bili bijasmo bile
Vi bijaste bili bijaste bile
Oni/One bijahu bili bijahu bile


The same formation is valid for every verb. Remember verbs change in gender. smiley