III. Pluperfect

  1. There are two pluperfect tenses in Italian, both easily recognized and easily translated (word for word). The first and more common of them consists of the imperfect of the auxiliary (avere or essere) plus the past participle.

parlare                                       arrivare

avevo parlato                             ero arrivato (-a)

avevi parlato                              eri arrivato (-a)

aveva parlato                             era arrivato (-a)

avevamo parlato                        eravamo arrivati (-e)

avevate parlato                          eravate arrivati (-e)

avevano parlato                         erano arrivati (-e)

Avevo già finito il mio lavoro alle tre del pomeriggio. –“I had already finished my work at three (o’clock) in the afternoon.”

Era arrivata più presto ch’io. –“She had arrived earlier than I.”

The rules concerning the agreement of the past participle are the same as those for the present perfect: The past participle of verbs conjugated with avere agrees only with a preceding direct object; the past participle of verbs conjugated with essere agrees with the subject.

  1. The second pluperfect (also called past anterior) consists of the past absolute of the auxiliary (avere or essere) plus the past participle. The second pluperfect is used only after conjunctions of time such as quando, dopo che, etc., provided that the independent clause is in the past absolute.

parlare                                       arrivare

ebbi parlato                               fui arrivato (-a)

avesti parlato                             fosti arrivato (-a)

ebbe parlato                              fu arrivato (-a)

avemmo parlato                         fummo arrivati (-e)

aveste parlato                            foste arrivati (-e)

ebbero parlato                           furono arrivati (-e)

La conferenza ebbe già finito quando arrivammo. –“The lecture had already ended [or ‘was already over’] when we arrived.”

Quando arrivai, egli fu già partito. –“When I arrived, he had already left.”


VOCABULARY

delitto
crime
dia
gives (3d. sing. pres. subj., dare)
*diritto
(n.) right; law; (adj.)straight
*dopo che
(conjunction; also dopochè) after
*già
already
giro
walk, drive, ride
giudice (m.)
judge
legge (f.)
law
mezzogiorno
noon (literally midday)
pena
punishment
reo
guilty
*secondo
according to
sia
is, be (3d. sing. pres. subj., essere)
tormento
torture

 

 

 

Last revised on January 30, 2017.