Oh, but you probably didn't notice that in the the fast version she actually pronounced a V instead of a B, i.e. "havía". That is why Joe heard "vas". However in the slow version she pronounces "había" with a B.
It sounds like a Portuguese (havia) or perhaps an Andaluz (?) accent:
- "me da mucha ravia" (https://youtu.be/nXXuE2VdwBg?t=10s :)
It is a form of verb called the participle. Specifically, the participle form of escribir.
SpanishDict is probably in the wrong for not linking "escrito" to "escribir" with a Conjugations tab. An English dictionary I just looked up listed "written" as a form of a verb. It could just be oversight on their part. I have seen definite mistakes, like translating "dos" as "five", on there before, in the definition section. Even though they're wrong occasionally, it's a good resource. I love their verb conjugation tables, very easy on the eyes and simple, and I've never found a mistake in them.
There's a reason for using this form. The past perfect "had written" contains additional information compared with "has/have written". For example, if a man says "I am seventy years old, and I have written a bestselling book on nuclear physics", then that's a good accomplishment. If the same man says, "By the time I was eight years old, I had written a bestselling book on nuclear physics", that tells a different story. Basically, the past perfect adds the information that something was done by a certain point in time in the past, which can be useful.
Thanks for the response. Yes, I do understand the meaning of "had" and how it adds more information than "have." I like your example, "By the time I was eight years old, I had written a bestselling book on nuclear physics." It makes their sentence make a little more sense. But the point I was making is, "I had written a book" isn't something anyone would ever say in and of itself without additional context, such as a response as part of a discussion or with a preface of something like your example, "By the time I was eight years old, I had written a bestselling book on nuclear physics."
"But the point I was making is..."
Well, actually the point you were making is that the sentence was ungrammatical, and you questioned how someone could unwrite a book. You said,
"If you 'had' written a book instead of 'have' written a book, it means the writing of the book is no longer true. How can a book get unwritten?"
So, you thought the sentence made no sense grammatically (you were wrong), which means that you initially believed that no context could ever be provided that would render this sentence intelligible. Then someone gave you that context, and you changed your story, claiming this would not be something anyone would ever say without additional context. But this is not something anyone could ever say without additional context existing. You cannot say this in isolation. The context is implicit, obviously. So, if you need context, then merely apply your imagination and supply it. You have just been shown how to do that. Take it on board.
Look, the point is that sentences on Duo are without context. There is no other way to present a single sentence. There is no context by definition. So instead of moaning about the lack of context, just learn the words and how the grammar works, no matter how ridiculous the sentences may at first seem to you. Once you have learned Spanish, you can use all this knowledge to utter meaningful sentences in Spanish in context. We are not here to critique the Spanish offered on Duo by criticizing English translations. How could that ever work? If an English translation here appears awkward or strange then look again: Duo is trying to illustrate a point of Spanish grammar. And if that is at the cost of an unprepossessing English translation, then so be it.
"The past perfect tense is used when a past action was completed prior to another past action." I found this helpful. There seems to be some comparison involved even if it is only just implied. http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/pastperfect.htm