• English grammar
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  • 1 English alphabet
  • 2 English pronunciation and phonetics [0/3]
  • 3 English articles [0/9]
  • 4 English pronouns [0/39]
  • 4.1 English personal pronouns [0/3]
  • 4.2 English impersonal pronouns (it, there, ...) [0/4]
  • 4.3 English object pronouns [0/3]
  • 4.4 English possessive pronouns [0/5]
  • 4.5 English reflexive pronouns [0/4]
  • 4.6 English reciprocal pronouns [0/4]
  • 4.7 English demonstrative pronouns [0/3]
  • 4.8 English relative pronouns [0/4]
  • 4.9 English indefinite pronouns [0/5]
  • 4.10 English interrogative pronouns [0/4]
  • 5 English nouns [0/16]
  • 6 English adjectives [0/38]
  • 6.1 Adjectives of quality in English [0/4]
  • 6.2 Demonstrative adjectives in English [0/4]
  • 6.3 Possessive adjectives in English [0/4]
  • 6.4 Quantity adjectives in English [0/4]
  • 6.5 Interrogative adjectives in English [0/4]
  • 6.6 Numeral adjectives in English [0/8]
  • 6.7 Comparatives and superlatives [0/10]
  • 7 English adverbs [0/18]
  • 8 English prepositions [0/12]
  • 9 English verbs [0/122]
  • 9.1 Present tenses in English [0/29]
  • Fill in the correct present tense in English (Score -/-)
  • Exercise about all present tenses in English (Score -/-)
  • Mixed present tenses exercise in English (Score -/-)
  • Practice all the English present tenses (Score -/-)
  • 9.1.1 Present simple tense in English [0/5]
  • 9.1.2 Present continuous tense in English [0/4]
  • 9.1.3 Present simple vs present continuous in English [0/4]
  • 9.1.4 Present perfect tense in English [0/4]
  • 9.1.5 Present perfect continuous tense in English [0/4]
  • 9.1.6 Difference past simple and present perfect in English [0/4]
  • 9.2 Past tenses in English [0/20]
  • 9.3 Future tenses in English [0/21]
  • 9.4 Auxiliary verbs in English [0/9]
  • 9.5 Present participle in English [0/3]
  • 9.6 Past participle in English [0/3]
  • 9.7 Modal verbs in English [0/11]
  • 9.8 Phrasal verbs in English [0/3]
  • 9.9 Regular verbs in English [0/3]
  • 9.10 Irregular verbs in English [0/3]
  • 9.11 Gerund (-ing form) in English [0/8]
  • 9.12 Infinitive verbs in English [0/3]
  • 9.13 Imperative in English [0/2]
  • 9.14 Reported speech in English [0/2]
  • 9.15 Active and passive voice in English [0/2]
  • 10 English conditionals [0/20]
  • Past perfect tense in English

    This chapter will discuss past perfect tense in English. This tense is used to indicate that an action in the past occurred before another action also in the past. 

    Structure of the past perfect tense in English

    The past perfect is formed with the past simple of the auxiliary verb 'to have' and the past participle:

    to have + past participle

    Past participle of regular verbs

    The past participle of regular verbs is formed by adding '-ed' to the infinitive of the verb.

    • to talk - talked
    • to want - wanted
    • to listen - listened

    Past participle of irregular verbs

    The past participle of irregular verbs have different endings. Here are some examples:

    • to eat - eaten
    • to drink - drunk
    • to run - run

    How to form the past perfect tense

    How the past perfect tense is formed, depends on whether the sentence is:

    1. Affirmative: expresses the truth of a certain assertion.
    2. Negative: expresses the falsity of a certain assertion. 
    3. Interrogative: expresses a question.

    1. Affirmatives

    Structure: Subject + auxiliary verb 'to have' in past (had) + past participle + rest of sentence

    Subject Past form of 'to have'
    I had
    You had
    He / she / it had
    We had
    You  had
    They had

    Examples:

    • I had eaten my breakfast when I left home.
    • The bus had just left when they arrived at the bus stop.
    • She was very tired because she had not slept well.

    2. Negatives

    Structure: Subject + negative form of auxiliary verb 'to have' in the past (had not) + past participle + rest of sentence

    Subject Negative form of 'to have' in past
    I had not
    You had not
    He / she / it had not
    We had not
    You had not
    They had not

    Examples:

    • I had not watched this movie before.
    • She had not met my sister before they went to dinner.
    • They had not done their homework before they went to class.

    3. Interrogatives

    Structure: Auxiliary verb 'to have' in past (had) + subject + past participle + rest of sentence + question mark

    Examples:

    • Had you met my sister before?
    • Had you watched this movie before?
    • Had you done your homework before class?

    Usage of the English past perfect

    The past perfect tense in English is used to make clear that one event occurred before the other event in the past. A past perfect sentence usually consists of 2 actions that are described, one of which is in the past simple tense

    Use Example
    For actions in the past that occured before another action also in the past. 
    • They had eaten dinner, so they were not hungry.
    • We had never seen such a big city before we went to New York City.
    Duration before something in the past.
    • I had had that bike for a week before it got stolen.
    • When he left to live in Berlin, he had been living in London for 3 years. 
    Actions that have started in the past and continued to a specific point in the past. 
    • She had visited New York City in 2011 before she moved there in 2014. 
    • You had worked for the company since 2010, but got fired in 2012. 

    Train your skills by doing the exercises below!

    Exercises

    Fill in the past perfect in English

    Fill in the English past perfect

    Practice the English past perfect

    Conjugate the verbs in the English past perfect