Pluperfect in French (Plus-que-parfait)
The pluperfect (French: le plus-que-parfait) is used most often with the imperfect and marks a past action that took place before another one also passed when it is expressed in the imperfect.
Formation of the pluperfect in French
The past anterior is made up of the imperfect of être or avoir and the past participle.
|Personal pronouns||Imperfect of avoir or être||Past participle||Object|
|Tu||avais||préparé||une tarte pour leur souhaiter la bienvenue|
|Ils||étaient||montés||me donner les documents à signer|
Le plus-que-parfait with 'être'
Verbs using 'être' are state verbs. They do not designate an action but a statement. The past anterior with 'être' agrees in gender and number with the noun they qualify. There are many verbs and among them you find:
|Partir - to leave||Aller - to go||Venir - to come|
|J'étais partit||J'étais allé(e)||J'étais venu(e)|
|Tu étais partit||Tu étais allé(e)||Tu étais venu(e)|
|Il/elle/on était partit||Il/elle/on était allé(e)||Il/elle/on était venu(e)|
|Nous étions parti(e)s||Nous étions allé(e)s||Nous étions venu(e)s|
|Vous étiez parti(e)s||Vous étiez allé(e)s||Vous étiez venu(e)s|
|Ils/elles étaient parti(e)s||Ils/elles étaient allé(e)s||Ils/elles étaient venu(e)s|
Others verbs that use the auxiliary verb 'être'.
- mourir (to die)
- devenir (to become)
- tomber (to fall)
- arriver (to arrive)
- sortir (to exit)
- revenir (to come back)
- entrer (to enter)
- rester (to stay)
- retourner (to return)
- descendre (to go down)
- rentrer (to come back)
- monter (to go up)
- naître (to be born)
- repartir (to releave)
Le plus-que-parfait with 'avoir'
Verbs using 'avoir' are active verbs. They designate an action. The past participle conjugated with the auxiliary 'avoir' does not agree with the subject. It agrees with the Direct Object Pronoun placed before the verb.
|J'avais pris||J'avais mangé||J'avais fini|
|Tu avais pris||Tu avais mangé||Tu avais fini|
|Il/elle/on avait pris||Il/elle/on avait mangé||Il/elle/on avait fini|
|Nous avions pris||Nous avions mangé||Nous avions fini|
|Vous aviez pris||Vous aviez mangé||Vous aviez fini|
|Ils/elles avaient pris||Ils/elles avaient mangé||Ils/elles avaient fini|
You use the auxiliary 'avoir' to conjugate the past participle of 'avoir' and 'être'
- Nous avions eu la journée pour parler.
- Nous avions été au zoo.
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