Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait (Subjunctive Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb caler

Introduction to the verb caler

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The English translation of the French verb caler is “to wedge” or “to prop.” It is pronounced as “ka-leh” in the infinitive form.

The word caler comes from the Old French word “cal,” meaning “wedge.” It is most often used in everyday French in the Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait tense, which is used to express a hypothetical or unreal action that occurred in the past.

Here are 3 simple examples of its usage in this tense, with the respective English translations:

  1. Il fallait que je calasse la porte pour qu’elle ne se ferme pas. (I had to wedge the door so that it wouldn’t close.)

  2. Elle aurait aimé que tu aies calé la chaise avant de t’asseoir. (She would have liked you to have propped up the chair before sitting down.)

  3. Nous aurions préféré que vous ayez calé le meuble pour qu’il ne bouge pas. (We would have preferred you to have stabilized the furniture so that it wouldn’t move.)

Table of the Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait (Subjunctive Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of caler

Pronoun Conjugation Example Usage English Translation
je eusse callé J’aurais aimé que je eusse callé. I wish I had stopped.
tu eusses callé J’aurais aimé que tu eusses callé. I wish you had stopped.
il eût callé J’aurais aimé qu’il eût callé. I wish he had stopped.
elle eût callé J’aurais aimé qu’elle eût callé. I wish she had stopped.
on eût callé J’aurais aimé qu’on eût callé. I wish one had stopped.
nous eussions callé J’aurais aimé que nous eussions callé. I wish we had stopped.
vous eussiez callé J’aurais aimé que vous eussiez callé. I wish you had stopped.
ils eussent callé J’aurais aimé qu’ils eussent callé. I wish they had stopped.
elles eussent callé J’aurais aimé qu’elles eussent callé. I wish they had stopped.

Other Conjugations for Caler.

   
    Le Present (Present Tense) Conjugation of the French Verb caler
   

    Imparfait (Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb caler
   

    Passé Simple (Simple Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb caler
   

    Passé Composé (Present Perfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb caler
   

    Futur Simple (Simple Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb caler
   

    Futur Proche (Near Future) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb caler
   

    Plus-que-parfait (Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb caler
   

    Passé Antérieur (Past Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb caler

    Futur Antérieur (Future Anterior) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb caler

    Subjonctif Présent (Subjunctive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb caler

    Subjonctif Passé (Subjunctive Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb caler
   

    Subjonctif Imparfait (Subjunctive Imperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb caler

    Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait (Subjunctive Pluperfect) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb caler
   

    Conditionnel Présent (Conditional Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb caler
   

    Conditionnel Passé (Conditional Past) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb caler

    L’impératif Présent (Imperative Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb caler

    L’infinitif Présent (Infinitive Present) Tense Conjugation of the French Verb caler
    (this article)

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Caler – About the French Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait (Subjunctive Pluperfect) Tense

The French Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait, also known as the Pluperfect Subjunctive, is a verb tense used to express actions or states that occurred before another action in the past, and it’s used in situations where the indicative mood is in the past subjunctive or conditional mood.
NOTE: To take a deep dive into all the French tenses then see my article on Mastering French Tense Conjugation.

Formation

To form the Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait, you start with the imperfect subjunctive form of the auxiliary verb “avoir” or “être,” followed by the past participle of the main verb. 
For “avoir” verbs: Take the imperfect subjunctive form of “avoir” (e.g., j’eusse, tu eusses, il/elle eût, nous eussions, vous eussiez, ils/elles eussent). Add the past participle of the main verb. 
For “être” verbs: Take the imperfect subjunctive form of “être” (e.g., je fusse, tu fusses, il/elle fût, nous fussions, vous fussiez, ils/elles fussent). Add the past participle of the main verb.

Common Everyday Usage Patterns

Hypothetical Situations

The Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait is often used to express hypothetical or unreal actions that occurred before another past action.
For example: J’aurais aimé que tu aies fini ton travail avant que je sois arrivé. (I would have liked for you to have finished your work before I arrived.) 

Reported Speech

In reported speech, you may use the Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait to convey what someone said or thought in the past. 
For example: Il m’a dit qu’il avait peur que je n’aie pas compris. (He told me that he was afraid that I hadn’t understood.) 

Doubt, Wishes, and Emotions

This tense can also be used to express doubt, wishes, and emotions about past actions. 
For example: Je doutais qu’il eût dit la vérité. (I doubted that he had told the truth.) 
J’aurais souhaité que tu fusses venu. (I would have wished for you to have come.)

Interactions with Other Tenses

Present Subjunctive

The Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait can be used to describe past actions when the main verb is in the present subjunctive. 
For example: “Il faut que j’aie fini mon travail avant que tu partes.” (I must have finished my work before you leave.) 

Imperfect Subjunctive

It’s common to use the Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait with the imperfect subjunctive in complex sentences. 
For example: “Il m’avait dit qu’il fût rentré avant la fin de la journée.” (He had told me that he had returned before the end of the day.) 

Conditional

When the main verb is in the conditional mood, the Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait can be used to express past unreal conditions. 
For example: “Si j’avais su, j’aurais voulu que tu aies réussi.” (If I had known, I would have wanted you to have succeeded.)

Summary

The Subjonctif Plus-que-parfait is a complex tense used to convey nuanced meanings in French. While its usage may seem intricate, it becomes more intuitive with practice and exposure to the language. It’s important to understand the context in which it’s used, as it often conveys subtleties of time, conditionality, and emotion in French sentences.

I hope you enjoyed this article on the verb caler. Still in a learning mood? Check out another TOTALLY random French verb conjugation!

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