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Usage of Past perfect tense in Portuguese

Just to make it clear, can someone write all the usages of Past perfect tense in Portuguese? Thanks a lot

December 8, 2013



Past perfect (pretérito perfeito) in Portuguese has only one usage: to express a fact that occurred and was completed in a moment before the current one.

  • Eu fiz minhas tarefas.

There is also compound past perfect (pretérito perfeito composto) which is used to express a fact that started in the past and may be in progress until now. It may denote an idea of repetition.

  • Eu tenho feito minhas tarefas.


What you are describing are the Portuguese versions of the simple past and the present perfect continuous. The English past perfect talks about something entirely completed in the past and is particularly useful when you mention something else that happened afterwards. It is equivalent to something like "Eu tinha feito minhas tarefas (antes que fui ao cinema)". In Portuguese the past perfect is called "pretérito mais-que-perfeito composto" I think.


Antes que eu fui ao cinema doesn't sound right.

Eu tinha feito minhas tarefas (antes de ter ido ao cinema)

That's infinitivo pessoal composto (have you figured out how many tenses we have in Portuguese?).


Thanks for the correction. I wanted "I had done (finished) my tasks before I went to the movies" so I tried the most literal approach and it obviously didn't work. :-(

I don't know the answer to that question even if you were asking about English. In Portuguese, there are many conjugation tables online and some show up to 18 different uses, but that doesn't count all the progressive versions. Do you have an exact figure?


23 inflections + some periphrastic constructions. The worst thing is that the majority of these tenses is used in everyday speech and we don't notice this.


  • Presente
  • Pretérito imperfeito
  • Pretérito perfeito simples
  • Pretérito perfeito composto
  • Pretérito mais-que-perfeito simples
  • Pretérito mais-que-perfeito composto
  • Futuro do presente simples
  • Futuro do presente composto
  • Futuro do pretérito simples
  • Futuro do pretérito composto


  • Presente
  • Pretérito imperfeito
  • Pretérito perfeito (composto)
  • Pretérito mais-que-perfeito (composto)
  • Futuro
  • Futuro composto


  • Imperativo afirmativo
  • Imperativo negativo


  • Infinitivo pessoal
  • Infinitivo pessoal composto
  • Infinitivo impessoal



Conjugaçoes perifrásticas:

  • Necessidade: Ter de + infinitivo (eu tenho de cumprir minhas tarefas)
  • Certeza: Haver de + infinitivo (hei de cumprir)
  • Intençao ou proximidade de realizaçao: estar para + infinitivo / estar prestes a + infinitivo (estou para cumprir / estou prestes a cumprir)
  • Realizacao futura: ir + infinitivo (vou cumprir minhas tarefas)
  • Realizacao prolongada: [andar/estar] a + infinitivo / [andar/estar] + gerundio (ando a cumprir, estou a cumprir / ando cumprindo, estou cumprindo)
  • Realizacao gradual: ir/vir + gerundio (vou/venho cumprindo minhas tarefas)
  • Acontecimento simultaneo: ir/estar (prét. impefeito) a + infinitivo ; ir/estar + gerundio (ia/estava a cumprir quando ela chegou, ia/estava cumprindo...)
  • Probabilidade/dever: dever + infinitivo (Devo cumprir minhas tarefas)
  • Possibilidade: poder + infinitivo (Posso cumprir minhas tarefas)
  • Inicio da realizacao: começar a + infinitivo (Comecei a cumprir)
  • Fim da açao: acabar de + infinitivo; deixar de + infinitivo (acabei de cumprir / deixei de cumprir)


Thank you for all the hard work preparing that summary. I'll bookmark this page for future reference.


I learned the term "periphrastic" in English. Thank you. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Periphrastic Coincidently, the PT Wiki doesn't have the subject "periphrasis" in a separate article but the Galego Wiki does.


Ele tinha ido para a galeria. What about this one? I hope someone will make this clear for me :)

P.S thanks wesleyjefferson


As Davu explained, this is pluperfect (pretérito mais que perfeito). It is used to express an action that occurred in the past before another one also in the past. In Portuguese there are two ways to construct this tense, the simple and the compound, but they have no different usages, they can be used interchangeably. However, the simple version is almost never used in an oral conversation.

Using the simple version in an informal situation sounds arrogant/superior (at least in Brazil), but in a text it is more common and makes it looks more elegant.

Simple version: Radical of the third person of indicative past perfect + terminations (-a, -as, -a, -amos, -eis, -am):

Verb ir (to go) - eles foram (past perfect)

Eu fora, tu foras, ele/ela/você fora, nós fôramos, vós fôreis, eles/elas/vocês foram

  • Quando o samba começou, ele já se fora.

Compound version: Past Imperfect of verb TER (or HAVER) + Past participle of main verb

  • Quando o samba começou, ele já tinha-se ido.


That is "He had gone to the gallery".

This tense is constructed like this "ter (imperfect) + past participle of verb". For "ele" the correct conjugation of "ter" (to have") is "tinha" and the past participle of "ir" (to go) is "ido" to give "Ele tinha ido" meaning "He had gone".


That's right. You're mastering Portuguese Davu, congrats :)


Uff I just noticed, i thought if I post a thread in Past perfect section that everyone can see it only there. Thanks for heads up!


Look for "pretérito mais que perfeito composto" here:

What do they mean - http://www.duolingo.com/comment/1483888?from_skill=0d4273bb5ba2d0dedb95127796e1e909

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