No, it's not splitting hairs at all, Pluperfect events precede events in the Perfect and (usually) Imperfect.
Perfect is an action that is done in relation to our Present time. E.g. "I have closed the door"... the action of closing that door is completely over. In most cases, you just translate the Perfect as a simple past - i.e. "Vōs nōbīs de voluptātibus adūlēscentiae tum scrīpsistis." = "You then wrote to us about the pleasures of youth". You could say "You have then written..." but that doesn't sound good in English.
Pluperfect is an action that is done in relation to the past (Imperfect), and precedes even the Perfect. You do translate it simply with "had" instead of "have", but you can see the relationship when you put the tenses together in a single sentence. E.g. "I had been walking (pluperfect) on the street when I came (perfect) across a cat" or "I was petting the cat (imperfect) after I had found (pluperfect) it". Excusing my lack of creativity, you can see how actions in difference tenses precede one another, unless I haven't explained it well.
The Imperfect, Present, and Future (Primary Tenses) divide all of time into three parts. The Pluperfect, Perfect, and Future Perfect take up only the space between the main tenses. Primary tenses are just simple statements, Perfect tenses are complete in respect to their corresponding Primary tense.
Last edited by benissimus
on Tue Jan 27, 2004 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae