Le Plus-que-parfait in French is the direct equivalent of the Pluperfect in English. It could be described as "the past of the past":
e.g. After I had been able to buy a car, traveling to work was no longer an issue.
Of course, English speakers are likely to make contractions: I'd been able to, etc.
Look at these examples of "pouvoir" in the Plus-que-parfait :
Je n'avais jamais pu parler correctement avant.I had never been able to speak properly before.
Tu avais pu leur dire au revoir avant qu'ils ne partent.You had been able to say goodbye to them before they left.
Il n'avait jamais pu lui avouer la vérité.He had never been able to tell her the truth.
Si nous avions pu, nous n'aurions jamais commencé.If we had been able to, we would have never started.
If we could have, we would have never started.
Vous aviez pu le voir une dernière fois.You had been able to see him one last time.
Ils n'avaient jamais pu l'admettre.They had never been able to admit it.
Notice that the Plus-que-parfait of "pouvoir" follows this construction:
Verb avoir in the Imparfait + pu (past participle of pouvoir)
Want to make sure your French sounds confident?
We’ll map your knowledge and give you free lessons to focus on your
gaps and mistakes. Start your Braimap today »