Wednesday's Word


The pluperfect (or plusquamperfect) is a type of verb form, generally treated as one of the tenses in certain languages, used to refer to an action at a time earlier than a time in the past already referred to. Examples in English are: "we had arrived"; "they had written".

The word derives from the Latin plus quam perfectum, "more than perfect". The word "perfect" in this sense means "completed"; it contrasts with the "imperfect", which denotes uncompleted actions or states.

In English grammar, the equivalent of the pluperfect (a form such as "had written") is now often called the past perfect, since it combines past tense with perfect aspect. (The same term is sometimes used in relation to the grammar of other languages.)

English also has a past perfect progressive (or past perfect continuous) form: "had been writing". Examples of the English pluperfect (past perfect) are found in the...

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