The PAST PERFECT tense is always used to indicate an action in the past which happend or was copleted before something else happend.


  1. Form
  2. Use
  3. Examples





This tense is formed with the past tense form of "to have" (had) plus the past participle of the verb (which can be either regular or irregular form):

subject + had + past participle

She had given.

We hadn't asked.

Had they arrived?

Hadn't they arrived?



1. We use past perfect for something:

     a) that started in the past and continued up to a specific time in the past:

  We had had that car for ten years before it broke down.
  I had been in London for a week when I met John.
  When the plane landed Tim had travelled for ten hours.

     a) that started in the past and continued up to a specific time in the past:

          Kristine had never been to an opera before last night.
          The train had left before I arrived to the station.
          Had you ever visited UK before your trip in 2012?

In the following examples 
event A is the first or earlier event and event is the second or latest event:

 tab past perfect


 2. We use the past perfect in reported speech to describes the situation as it really was at the time of the speech:

         She told me they had already had the dinner.
         I thought we had agreed on the price.
         He said he had takhen art lessons before.
         My brother said he had won the competition.


3. We use the past perfect as part of the third conditional to talk about past in conditions, wishes or hypothese:

         I wish I had know you were in New York, I would have visited you.
         I would have bought a better car, if I had had more money.
         If it hadn't rainedwe would have stayed in the hotel.
         I would have told John, If I had seen him.


4. We use the past perfect in sentences with because, that, which/who, as soon as, until, by the time etc.:

         I couldn't pay for the dinner because I had lost my wallet.
         They noticed that something had changed.
         The man who I had met before Christmas inveted me for a date.
         As soon as she had finished her homework she went out.
         We didn't stop until we had reached the hotel.
         By the time I arrived they had already finished the job.


 By using or not using the past perfect you can completly change the meaning of the sentence: 

 He was hit from  behind before he had managed to turn around.
 He was hit from behind before he managed to turn around.