When to use the pluperfect tense in French
On the previous page, we looked at how to form the pluperfect tense and said that roughly speaking, it is the equivalent of forms such as he had eaten in English. So for example, the following sentence mimics the equivalent English sentence fairly closely:
j'avais déjà mangé quand elle est arrivée
I'd already eaten when she arrived
Il était quinze heures. Le train était arrivé.
It was 3pm. The train had arrived.
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Given this similarity, if you are an English speaker then in most cases, you will probably not have difficulty deciding when to use the pluperfect in French. (On the other hand, you will still have to decide on when to use the imperfect and when to use the perfect, for example.)
However, for more advanced learners in particular, there are a few complications to be aware of:
We'll examine these points in more detail on the next page.