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Le plus-que-parfaitThe plus-que-parfait is what’s known as a compound tense. It is formed with an auxiliary verb (the imperfect form of être or avoir) plus a past participle of the main verb.
Muriel et Marcel étaient arrivés en avance. conjugaison Muriel and Marcel had arrived early.
The plus-que-parfait is the equivalent of the past perfect or pluperfect tense in English (‘had + past participle’). We use it:
• For actions in the past which are completed (irreversibly)
Muriel avait travaillé toute la nuit. conjugaison Muriel had worked all night long.
• For actions which occur before other past actions (those that use the passé composé, imperfect, or passé simple tenses)
Le jardin était inondé, il avait plu pendant une semaine. conjugaison The garden was flooded, it had rained for a week.
• For hypothetical situations in the past, when expressing wishes about the past.
Nous aurions pris l’ascenseur s’il n’avait pas été en panne. We would have taken the lift, if it hadn’t been out of order.conjugaison
Note: To respect the correct sequence of tenses, we use the Si + past perfect past conditional construction.
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