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Explanations

How to Use the Tense Timeline to Form Perfect System Verb Tenses

Note the equivalent number of each tense on the number (time) line*:

present = 0
one step in the past =  -1
two steps in the past = -2
one step in the future = +1
two steps in the future = +2

 pluperfect imperfect perfect present future perfect future

 -2 -1 0 +1 +2

FORMATION OF
PERFECT, PLUPERFECT, FUTURE PERFECT PASSIVE

(stem from the 4th principal part: laudatus, -a, -um (perfect passive participle)

PERFECT PASSIVE: perfect passive pple + present of SUM as auxiliary (-1 + 0 = -1)

 perfect passive pple + present of SUM = -1 perfect laudatus + est = laudatus est "he was praised" -1 + 0 = -1 (one step in the past) "The child has been praised often." explanation: this action occurred in the simple past, one step before the present.

PLUPERFECT PASSIVE:  perfect passive pple + imperfect of SUM as auxiliary (-1 + -1 = -2)

 perfect passive pple + imperfect of sum = -2 pluperfect laudatus + erat = laudatus erat "he had been praised" -1 + -1 = -2 (two steps in the past) "The child had been praised before evening came." explanation: both actions are in the past, but one occurred two steps in the past; one action happened before the other, so you must account for two depths of the past, two steps removed from the present.

FUTURE PERFECT PASSIVE: perfect stem + future of sum as auxiliary (-1 + 2 = -1)

 perfect passive pple + future of sum = +1 pluperfect laudatus + erit = laudatus erit "he will have been praised" -1 + +2 = +1 (in between future and past but after the present) "The child will have been praised before evening comes." explanation: both actions are in the future (future), but one will occur after the first one is completed (perfect). The action of the verb in the future perfect tense will occur at a midway point between two points on the line, between NOW (our present) and THEN (when evening comes, the end of the line, which hasn't happened yet, but will).

*Thanks to Peter Rohn, one of my Latin students, for suggesting that I give "future" the value of 2, thereby making it possible to assign a smaller positive integer to "future perfect." I had originally valued "future" at 1, and then was stuck with 1/2 for future perfect. back to top

See Grammar explanation sheet under Chapter 12 for the
Perfect System in Active Voice