Past Perfect Tense is the second tense that uses the Past Participle verb. While sharing some similarities to the Present Perfect Tense, Past Perfect Tense has many different uses. In this article, we will talk about the definition of Past Perfect Tense, how to use it and how to identify it.
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What is the Past Perfect Tense?
Past Perfect Tense is a tense that is mostly used to describe an action that happened before another action in the past.
When do you use Past Perfect Tense?
There are many ways to use the Past Perfect Tense as this sense is very often used in conversation:
To describe an action that happened before another action in the past.
+ June had finished the cake by the time we arrived.
+ When she got to the station, the train had left.
+ The kid had gone when the parents returned to the playground.
To talk about an action that lasted up to a point of time in the past.
+ Jane had been a professional racer by 2003.
+ They had used the same generator for over five years before it got stolen.
+ By the time Tim turned eight, his family had been to 9 different countries.
When the sentence involves reported speech.
+ Her teacher said Linda had been quite naughty today.
+ The doctor told him that they had tried their best.
+ Nobody told me that the resort had closed.
To describe an action that acted as a condition for another action in the past.
+ Kyle had practiced singing and was ready to compete in the talent show.
+ They had used the wrong ingredients and the cake was ruined.
+ He had finished his homework and was prepared to go to the park.
When the sentence is a third condition clause sentence.
+ If mom had come home a little bit earlier, we would have been busted.
+ Zen would have built the tent if she had been told.
To talk about changed states.
+ We had prepared for a beach day but look at the sky now.
+ Timothy is happy with his job but he had always wanted to be a novelist.
To describe a regret.
+ We wish we had come to the party.
+ Roger wished he had taken the medicine.
+ I wish I had prepared for this a little more details.
The Past Perfect Tense Formula
How to Make the Past Perfect Affirmative Sentence
We follow this structure:
|S + had + V3|
With: + S: Subject
+ V3: Past Participle Verb
Note: Because have/has its V3 form as had so in a sentence that the past perfect tense is the main, the subject doesn’t affect the verb.
+ The shop had made a new announcement before they changed their location.
+ Walter had watched the whole series after Lyn recommended it to him.
+ Kim had cooked the food before the kid came to her house.
How to Make the Past Perfect Negative Sentence
We follow this structure:
|S + had + not + V3|
or for the shorter version:
|S + hadn’t + V3|
+ The boys hadn’t finished their homework by the time their dad came home.
+ Cole hadn’t eaten for five hours.
+ Lily hadn’t done any housework when her mom came home.
How to Ask a Question in the Past Perfect
– Yes/No Question:
|Had + S + V3?|
|(+) Yes, S had||(-) No, S hadn’t|
+ Had Tom returned by the time we left? – Yes he had.
+ Had the machine broken down when Ginger turned it off? – No, it hadn’t
|Had + S + not + V3?|
|Hadn’t + S + V3?|
+ Hadn’t she worked for at least 3 companies by 2005?
+ Had Timmy not come to this place before?
+ Hadn’t she told us that we left for dinner?
|Wh_ + had + S + V3 + …?|
|S + had + V3 +…|
+ What had you learnt by the time your grandparent passed away?
+ Why had Cody cut down the power when Quin came to the place?
+ Where had she been before we returned?
See more at: Grammar
Common Regular Verbs in the Past Perfect Tense
While the verb in the past perfect tense has to change to its V3 form, many verbs have its V3 form the same as its Past form, with _ed at the end of the verb. Here are some common regular verbs in Past Perfect Tense:
|Infinitive||Past Participle (V3)|
Common Irregular Verbs in the Past Perfect Tense
There are many changes when it comes to the irregular verb, some change their letter, some change their pronoun, some remain the same with their past form and some simply add another letter. Here are some common irregular verbs in the Past Perfect Tense.
|Infinitive||Past Participle (V3)|
You might also like: Irregular Verbs List: Base Form V1, Simple Past V2, Past Participle V3
Signal words for the Past Perfect Tense
There are two main ways to recognize the Past Perfect Tense:
The signal words such as:
- Until then, prior to that time, as soon as, by,…
- Conjunctions: before, after, by the time,…
+ He hadn’t known about the wedding until they told him.
+ Cinthia had run away by the time her parents came.
+ Luke had been quite unstable after what happened.
The Conjunctions position:
- Before: The Past Perfect + before + The Past Simple
+ Before you said anything, I had changed our Tv.
+ Tony had done the dishes before they finished their dishes.
+ Jim had brought the cat home before they discussed it.
- After: (The “before” structure but reverse)
The Past Simple + after + The Past Perfect
+ Rome forgot to add the oil after he had put the chicken in the oven.
+ After the result had been given to the family, they decided to do the surgery.
+ Viola boiled the vegetables after she had finished the batter.
- No sooner….than:
No sooner + had + S1 + V3 + than + S2 + V2/V-ed.
+ No sooner had Georgia returned home than her boss called.
+ No sooner had he come to our place than he left.
- Hardly/Barely/Scarcely … when …:
Barely/Hardly/Scarcely + had + S1 + V3/V-ed + when + S2 + V2/V-ed
+ Hardly had Daisy finished the birdhouse when the cat showed up and broke it.
+ Barely had we met that man when a bunch of tourists showed up.
Notes: S1 and S2 can be the same S.
- When: Usually at the start of a sentence, after “When” has to be a Past Simple Tense sentence.
+ When they returned home, the house had been destroyed by the fire.
+ Mavis had done her work when the inspector came.
- By the time: The Past Perfect + by the time + The Past Simple
+ Bob had gone out of the house by the time his kid came to see him.
+ They had cleaned the place by the time the boss checked on them.
Past Perfect Tense Exercise with Answers
Exercise of Past Perfect Tense
Exercise 1: Fill in the blanks with the correct form of verbs.
- I had never ____(be) to this place before.
- Ford had _____(cook) the dinner before we ____(get) there.
- Dick had ______(lie) to his friend about his family when they ___(talk) about it.
- Lise hadn’t _____(eat) anything.
- When she ______(return), everyone had ____(leave).
- Had Miles _____(call) his mom before he _____(come) to our house.
- The gardener ____(collect) the fruit that had___(fall) from the tree.
- The cat ___(break) the vase that they _____(prepare).
- He had never _____(drive) a sports car before.
- I had ____(learn) 3 different languages by 2010.
Exercise 2: Fill in the blank with the correct forms.
- _____(she/not do) any homework when her teacher checked on her.
- Why _____(you/bring) the dog with you?
- _____(they/know) what to do before they came here?
- After ______(the bird/ fly) away, she continued her walk in the park.
- By the time we got there, ________(the money/ steal).
- ______(the kid/ give) us this paper before we asked anything.
- No sooner ______(the ink/dry) than the girl asked for the paper.
- ________(the gang/ buy) some gifts before they came to my house.
- What ______(he /play) before midnight?
- ______(you/build) the tents when we went out?
Answers of Exercise Past Perfect Tense
|1) been||2) cooked/got||3) lied/talked||4) eaten||5) returned/left|
|6) called/came||7) collected/fallen||8) broke/prepared||9) driven||10) learnt|
|1) She hadn’t done||2) had you brought|
|3) had they known||4) the bird had flown|
|5) the money had been stolen||6) the kid had given|
|7) had the ink dried||8) The gang had bought|
|9) had he played||10) Had you built|
Past Perfect Tense Exercises Pdf, Doc
Past Perfect Tense Exercises is a set of exercises that help you learn how to use the past perfect tense.
Past Perfect Tense Exercises is a set of exercises that helps you learn how to use the past perfect tense. It also teaches you some common mistakes and provides corrections for them.
The Past Perfect Tense Exercises PDF and DOC are available for download on our website.
You might also like: Present Perfect Continuous Tense | Formula, Signs, Uses, Examples & Exercises