The Plusquamperfekt (past perfect) is the least common past tense in German. It is used to talk about actions that took place before a certain point in the past

He had studied Italian before he moved to Rome.Er hatte italienisch studiert bevor er nach Rom ging.

The Plusquamperfekt is formed by using the Präteritum forms (simple past forms) of the Hilfsverb (auxiliary verb) – which can either be ‘sein’ or ‘haben’ – and then adding the Partizip 2 (past participle) of the corresponding verb.

Personalpronomen | Personal pronounsPlusquamperfekt
ichwar / hatte + Partizip 2
duwarst / hattest + Partizip 2
er, sie, eswar / hatte + Partizip 2
wirwaren / hatten + Partizip 2
ihrwart / hattet + Partizip 2
siewaren / hatten + Partizip 2

If you use the example of the verb ‘machen‘ (to make / to do) again, the forms in the Plusquamperfekt would be the following:

ich hatte gemacht
du hattest gemacht
er, sie, es hatte gemacht
wirhatten gemacht
ihr hattet gemacht
siehatten gemacht

But German wouldn’t be German if there wouldn’t be some irregular verbs. To find out more about them check out our article about irregular verbs in German.

Other tenses in German:

Overview | Präsens| Präteritum | Perfekt | Futur 1 | Futur 2

Stay tuned for more articles about this and other grammar topics for learning German!

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