Latin/Pluperfect Tense Lesson 1

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Salvēte omnēs! Welcome back to Latin for Wikiversity. Here you can peruse a new lesson in Latin, in a simple format. If you would like to catch up, you can find a directory of lessons, a classified vocabulary list, and Memrise courses at the links on the right.

Now we will start to focus on verbs in this course once again. Nothing says “back to school” like Latin verbs to memorize and conjugate! This lesson will focus on the Pluperfect tense. This tense is part of the “perfect system,” formed off of the “perfect stem” which is derived from the 3rd principal part. We have studied the perfect tense already, starting in this lesson: Perfect Tense 1 Perfect tense can be translated “I verbed, I have verbed, I did verb.”

The Pluperfect tense expresses action plūs quam perfectum, more than complete, or action that happened even before another prior action. In English we use “had” as a helping verb. The Pluperfect endings are added to the perfect stem and are very regular, identical to the imperfect tense of the being verb sum:

eram, erās, erat, erāmus, erātis, erant
Latin English
Pluperfect of vocō
vocāveram I had called
vocāverās you had called
vocāverat he, she, it had called
vocāverāmus we had called
vocāverātis you (pl.) had called
vocāverant they had called

Pluperfect tense frequently shows up in complex sentences, but our sentences will be somewhat limited at first. Near the end of this lesson are some sentences adapted from Latin literature that are a little longer. Also, not to discourage anyone, but many types of sentence constructions require the tenses of the subjunctive, which we haven’t even begun to study yet.

As always, it is very helpful to review verbs with all four principal parts together, so you can easily call to mind the 3rd principal part that yields the perfect stem.

New Vocabulary[edit | edit source]

Latin English Audio (Classical) Notes
nōndum not yet
redeō, redīre, redīvī, reditus (irreg.) return, go back

New Sentences[edit | edit source]

Latin English Notes
Librum jam legeram. I had already read the book.
Nuntium audīverāmus. We had heard the message.
Paulam vocāveram. I had called Paula.
Leōnem numquam vīderat. He had never seen a lion.
Mārcus epistulam jam miserat. Marcus had already sent the letter.
Librōs magistrae dederāmus. We had given the books to the teacher.
Nōndum advēnerātis. You (pl.) had not yet arrived.
Ibī diū habitāverant. They had lived there for a long time.
Eōs adjuverās (adjuverātis). You had helped them.
Puella stolam novam voluerat. The girl had wanted a new dress.
Mārcus in Rōmā quattuor diēs fuerat. Marcus had been in Rome for four days.
Discipulī fuerant. They had been students.
Domum redīverāmus. We had returned home.
Fugere potuerāmus. We had been able to run away.
Lūcia malam fortūnam habuerat. Lucia had had bad luck.
Gāius ad urbem unde vēnerat redīvit. Gaius returned to the city whence he had come (from which he had come).
Ad locum quō clāvēs posueram redīvī. I returned to the place where I had put the keys.
Pecūniam quam in raedā invēneram amīsī. I lost the money that I had found in the car.
Nōn comēderat pānem neque biberat aquam tribus diēbus. He had not eaten bread or drunk water for three days.
Lūciam rogāverant, sed dīxerat sē occupātam esse. They had asked Lucia, but she had said that she was busy.
Post eius mortem nihilō minus Helvetiī id quod cōnstituerant facere conantur, ut ē finibus suis exeant. After his death the Helvetians try nonetheless that which they had decided, in order to go out from their territory. From Caesar’s de Bello Gallico book 1, literally translated; his convention was to use historical present, which I usually translate as past tense. A peek at the end of the present subjunctive, with what I call the “weird vowel.”
...cum ūnā legione, quae in eōrum finibus hiemāverat... ...with one legion, which had spent the winter in their territory... also from Caesar, book 6, with just the relevant pluperfect verb snipped out from a much longer sentence)

Practice[edit | edit source]

Practice and learn the words and phrases in this lesson
Step one First learn the words using this lesson:
Step two Next try learning and writing the sentencing using this:
Note that the Memrise stage covers the content for all lessons in each stage.
If you are skipping previous stages you may need to manually "ignore" the words in previous levels (use the 'select all' function)

If you have questions or comments about this lesson, please leave them in the form of a comment below. Next lesson will cover some more pluperfect forms, particularly deponent verbs. Grātiās et valēte!