Alongside the perfect and imperfect tenses, a further past tense 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.
I had given1 the messuage to Lucy, when I realised2 my mistake.
The messuage had been given to Lucy before the speaker realised his mistake.
In Latin this tense looks like this:
The endings for the pluperfect are similar to those of the present tense:
|-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|
To form the pluperfect tense, remove the ‘-i’ from the third principal part of the verb and add the relevant ending.
Pluperfect of confirmo, confirmare, confirmavi, confirmatum (1) to confirm
|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|