Plus-que-parfait 🙃

How to form the French plus-que-parfait?

The plus-que-parfait, as the passé composé, is a compound tense.

It means that you need two verbs to conjugate it.

You will first need an auxiliary verb, either AVOIR or ÊTRE, that you conjugate in imparfait tense.

See AVOIR or ÊTRE conjugations in the attached infographic.

Then you will need the past participle of the verb you want to conjugate in plus-que-parfait.

For example: J’avais parlĂ© (I had spoken) / J’Ă©tais allĂ© (I had gone)

 

Note that the plus-que-parfait is very similar to the passĂ© composĂ©, but instead of conjugating the auxiliary verb in present tense, you conjugate it in imparfait.

 

To know whether you should use the auxiliary verb ÊTRE or AVOIR, you have to follow the same rules as for the passĂ© composĂ©. Read them here.

 

How to form the Past Participle?

In English, most past participles end with -ED (arrived).

In French, they mostly end with -É, -I, -U:

  • For all regular -ER verbs, remove the -ER from the infinitive and replace it with -É –> parler –> parlĂ©
  • For all regular -IR verbs, remove the -IR from the infinitive and replace it with -I –> finir –> fini
  • For all regular -RE verbs, remove the -RE from the infinitive and replace it with -U –> vendre –> vendu

 

Then you have all the irregular verbs that don’t follow any pattern and that you have to learn by heart 😉

Here are some very useful verbs to know:

  • ĂȘtre –> Ă©tĂ©
  • avoir –> eu
  • faire –> fait
  • pouvoir –> pu
  • vouloir –> voulu

How to form the French plus-que-parfait

 

Examples:

  • Elle avait pris son petit dĂ©jeuner quand je suis arrivĂ©.

She had had breakfast when I arrived.

  • J’avais dĂ©jĂ  appris Ă  jouer du piano quand j’ai commencĂ© la guitare.

I had already learned to play the piano when I started the guitar.

  • Le train Ă©tait dĂ©jĂ  parti quand nous sommes arrivĂ©s Ă  la gare.

The train had already left when we arrived at the station.

  • Ils m’ont dit qu’ils n’Ă©taient jamais venus en France avant.

They told me that they had never come to France before.

  • Je croyais qu’il avait habitĂ© Ă  Paris.

I thought he had lived in Paris .

2 Comments
  • Richard Dwamena
    Posted at 00:47h, 14 November Reply

    Examples would be cool

    • A Cup of French
      Posted at 13:40h, 15 November Reply

      I agree 🙂 I’m gonna add some in the article 😉

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