Using The Past Perfect Tense in English

How to use The Past Perfect Tense in English

How to use The Past Perfect Tense in English



Past Perfect Tense is used to indicate that one of the two events that occurred in the past is already finished. It is also used to say that an action in the past occurred before a certain time. Past Perfect Tense is used to describe the process before a particular action or time in the past. Past Perfect Tense is used to describe what happened before two consecutive events in the past. This is followed by Simple Past Tense. In fact, Past Perfect Tense may not be used in many cases.

However, this time is used to prevent the sentence from being meaningful. If before or after is used in the sentence, past perfect tense may not be used because it is already clear which action occurred before. Using simple past instead of past perfect in these sentences does not make any difference.

Past Perfect Tense is used to describe the actions that we plan to do or hope for but cannot do. There’s something to be aware of.  In order to use past perfect in a sentence or context, there must be a subsequent event that we can compare to. So we don’t just say a sentence containing past perfect. More importantly, past perfect is not a very often used time in daily life. Most of the time, you can use past simple instead of using past perfect.


Positive Sentence

Subject + had + V3 or V+ed

  • I had cleaned my office before they came.

Note: The first part is written in past perfect and the second part is written in past simple.

Negative Sentence

Subject + had + not + V3 or V+ed

  • I had not cleaned my office before they came.
Question Sentence

Had + Subject + V3 or V+ed

  • Had you cleaned your office before they came?




Past Perfect Tense Formula Example Sentences

  • I went there after I had completed the task.
  • She had come late to the school.
  • My father and mother had been married for two years when I was born.
  • Until he went to England, he had never spoken English.
  • If you had studied hard last year, he would have passed all his exams.
  • had not (hadn’t) completed the task.
  • She  had not (hadn’t) come late to the school.
  • They  had not (hadn’t) been married when I was born.
  • Until he went to England, he had not (hadn’t) spoken English.
  • Had you completed the task?
  • Had she come late to the school?
  • Had they been married when I was born?
  • Had he spoken English until he went to England?
  • Had she done her homework?

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