Could anyone explain with simple examples the difference between "past anterior" (Le passé antérieur) and "pluperfect of the indicative" (le plus-que-parfait de l'indicatif)? The only difference I know is the formation of the tenses. I would especially like to know the difference when one translates a sentence from French to English.

Are they both translated as "had done something"? Or is there any other nuance?

1 Answer 1


There's absolutely no difference in meaning. The passé antérieur is the literary equivalent of the plus-que-parfait.

They're used in exactly the same constructions (e.g., after après que) but the plus-que-parfait is "normal" - used in spoken French and informal writing, while the passé antérieur is literary: limited to literature and other formal writing.

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