Trapassato prossimo a.k.a. piucheperfetto , from Latin “plus quam perfectum” or more than perfect, in English pluperfect tense, is an Italian compound past tense. It refers to events happening before other past events described in a sentence.
Trapassato prossimo is composed by the imperfetto of essere or avere and the past participle, the Italian Participio Passato. See the table.
In most cases, the trapassato prossimo is used in combination with another past tense. The past event can be described in a time frame (e.g. ieri, la settimama scorsa, un’ora fa) using adverbs (mentre etc…) or another past tense. For example:
- Passato Prossimo Avevo studiato ma non ho superato gli esami universitari
- Imperfetto, Avevo studiato ma non superavo gli esami universitari
- Passato Remoto. Avevo studiato ma non superai gli esami universitari
In these cases, studying is the first action, not passing the exams comes after studying.
Trapassato prossimo is often used just like the passato prossimo (describe a past event), but always in combination with another past event. Sometimes the other past event or circumstance is omitted:
- Non avevo mai incontrato Marco (before today)
The rule of thumb for choosing correctly essere or avere as auxiliary verb is: essere for intransitive verbs and avere for transitive. Of course, this is valid also for the Trapassato prossimo.
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Please take some time for solving the quiz below about the Trapassato prossimo.