by Sean Conner
The pluperfect tense in Latin is employed when the speaker wishes to express
any action already completed at some point in the past:
spripseram - I had written.
inceperant - They had begun.
Like the English equivalent, the Latin pluperfect tense is properly subordinate
-- without an adverbial element indicating a past reference point, whether
this element be a clause or simply a temporal adverb, the pluperfect is
grammatically fragmentary. Note the following English examples of
the correct and incorrect uses of the pluperfect:
The examples of incorrect pluperfect usage are fragments. To express
a previously completed action with the pluperfect, a sentence requires
a temporal reference point.
Before I went to my first class, I had already purchased my books.
I had not yet seen her at that time.
I had purchased the books.
I had not seen her.
Note that the subjunctive mood of the Latin pluperfect tense also
represents completed aspect (within secondary sequence) and is likewise
The pluperfect is commonly found in the following conditions-
Past, Contrary to Fact: pluperfect subjunctive will appear
in both the protasis and apodosis, suggesting prior action that could have
been completed. (If I had done my best, my parents would have been