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Your Bite Into Portuguese

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In Scotland, two students went to an art exhibition and left a pineapple on a table to see if it would become art. 

When they returned four days later, the pineapple was still there and tinha sido coberto por uma vitrina.

(👉 Here's the photo of the pineapple, in case you are curious!)

Tinha sido coberto por uma vitrina
Had been covered with a glass display case
🔊 Native Pronunciation

Tinha Had

This is the verb ‘ter’ (to have) in the imperfect past, for the 3rd person singular (ele, ela, você).

sido been

This is the past participle of the verb ‘ser’ (to be).

coberto covered

This is the past participle of the verb ‘cobrir’ (to cover). It is part of the phrase ‘tinha sido coberto’ (had been covered) which is the passive voice form of the verb ‘cobrir’ (to cover) in the compound pluperfect (pretérito mais-que-perfeito composto).

The compound pluperfect tense, also known as the past perfect tense, is used to express an action that happened before another action in the past.

  • 🍰 Quando eu reparei, eles já tinham comido o bolo. (When I noticed, they had already eaten the cake.)

In the passive voice, the object of the verb becomes the subject of the sentence:

  • 🎂 Quando eu reparei, o bolo já tinha sido comido. (When I noticed, the cake had already been eaten.)

por uma by a

Here, ‘por’ indicates the means used to cover the pineapple.

‘Uma’ is equivalent to ‘a/an’ in its feminine singular form. It matches the gender and number of ‘vitrina.’

vitrina glass display case

This is a feminine singular noun related to the word ‘vidro’ (glass).

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The compound pluperfect

Read our article to understand and use the compound pluperfect better. Then, practise with our interactive exercises to solidify your knowledge.

Learn it here

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