I need to use es gibt in the pluperfect, for an essay that I’m writing, but I’m not sure how to do it.

  • Present: Es gibt etwas
  • Past: Es gab etwas
  • Pluperfect: ?

Es war etwas gegeben sounds wrong to me, but I don’t just want to write Es gab, because then the tenses won‘t match. How do I do this?

  • 3
    Voting to close because the answer can easily be found in your average grammar book.
    – Jan
    Apr 28, 2015 at 7:53

2 Answers 2


You are right that the past participle of geben is gegeben, but the auxiliary verb to use with it is not sein, it is haben. Therefore the correct form is:

Es hatte gegeben.


Es war etwas gegeben is past passive voice.

  • Present: Es gibt
  • Past: Es gab
  • Present perfect: Es hat gegeben
  • Pluperfect: Es hatte gegeben

Es hatte etwas gegeben is pluperfect.

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