The Pluperfect Subjunctive

The second most common tense is the pluperfect subjunctive. While it may not be the most common, it is the most easily recognizable. Since the pluperfect is a perfect system tense, you use the perfect stem. The perfect stem is the third principle part of a verb minus the final -ī. Once you have the stem, add the tense/mood indicator for the pluperfect subjunctive, -isse-, then add the regular personal endings.

Table 10-2 The Pluperfect Subjunctive

Once again, the only way to translate a subjunctive is to see it in context. It nearly always translates into English with the helping verb “had” (e.g., sissent, “they had sent”). The most important thing to remember about the pluperfect subjunctive is that it always shows something that happened before the main verb.

The special perfect tense personal endings -ī , -istī , -it, -imus, -istis, and -ē runt are only for the perfect indicative, which you learned in Chapter 4. These personal endings appear no place else.

Conjugating the Subjunctive

Conjugate the following verbs in the imperfect and pluperfect subjunctive.

  • canō, canere, cecinī , cantum

  • absum, abesse, ā fuī, ā futū rus

  • fleō , flē re, flē , flē tum

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