French Pluperfect Subjunctive

Plus-que-parfait du subjonctif

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The French pluperfect subjunctive is the least common literary tense - it's the literary equivalent of the past subjunctive.

Like all literary tenses, the pluperfect subjunctive is used only in literature, historical writings, and other very formal writing, so it is important to be able to recognize it but chances are that you will never in your life need to conjugate it.

The pluperfect subjunctive has an identical twin, the second form of the conditional perfect, which is used in literary si clauses.

The French pluperfect subjunctive is a compound conjugation, which means it has two parts:

  1. imperfect subjunctive of the auxiliary verb (either avoir or être)
  2. past participle of the main verb

Note: Like all French compound conjugations, the pluperfect subjunctive may be subject to grammatical agreement:

  • When the auxiliary verb is être, the past participle must agree with the subject
  • When the auxiliary verb is avoir, the past participle may have to agree with its direct object

French Pluperfect Subjunctive Conjugations 

AIMER (auxiliary verb is avoir)

j' eusse aimé nous eussions aimé
tu eusses aimé vous eussiez aimé
il,
elle
eût aimé ils,
elles
eussent aimé

DEVENIR (être verb)

je fusse devenu(e) nous fussions devenu(e)s
tu fusses devenu(e) vous fussiez devenu(e)(s)
il fût devenu ils fussent devenus
elle fût devenue elles fussent devenues

SE LAVER (pronominal verb)

je me fusse lavé(e) nous nous fussions lavé(e)s
tu te fusses lavé(e) vous vous fussiez lavé(e)(s)
il se fût lavé ils se fussent lavés
elle se fût lavée elles se fussent lavées