The Past Perfect Tense in English:
English creates this tense with a past participle and, as the name suggests, with the auxiliary verb, "to have," conjugated in its past-tense forms:
|I had already noticed that before you called my attention to it.|
|She was tired because she hadn't slept the night before.|
|He had been living in his car for several months before finally finding an apartment.|
For a discussion of how to form the past participle, consult the explanation of the present perfect.
The Past Perfect Tense (das Plusquamperfekt) in German:
In German, as in English, the past perfect describes a time previous to another in the past. It is constructed just like the present perfect tense, except that the auxiliary "haben" or "sein" is in its simple past form: "hatte" or "war."
|Sie hatte gut gespielt, bis sie verletzt wurde.||She had played well until she was injured.|
|Er war schon einen Monat in Berlin gewesen, bevor er in die Oper gegangen ist.||He had already been in Berlin for a month before he went to the opera.|
|Ich hatte Chinesisch schon als Kind gesprochen, aber jetzt wollte ich Deutsch lernen.||I had already spoken Chinese as a child, but now I wanted to learn German.|
|Wir hatten nichts davon gewusst, bis sie endlich alles erklärte.||We hadn't known anything about it until she finally explained everything.||Der Wolf hatte die Großmutter schon gefressen, als Rotkäppchen ins Haus kam.||The wolf had already eaten the grandmother before Little Red Riding-Hood came into the house.|