What is the Past Perfect Tense? See examples and how to form the Past Perfect Tense.
1. Forming the Past Perfect Tense
The Past Perfect tense in English is composed of two parts: the past tense of the verb to have (had) + the past participle of the main verb.
S + had + past participle + …
E.g. She had finished.
S + had not + past participle + …
(had not = hadn’t)
E.g. She hadn’t finished.
Had + S + past participle + …?
E.g. Had she finished?
2. When do we use the Past Perfect Tense
- Action finished before another past action
E.g. Richard had gone out when his wife arrived in the office.
- Action happened before a specific time in the past
E.g. Christine had never been to an opera before last night.
- Action started in the past and continued up to a given time in the past
E.g. We had owned that car for ten years before it broke down.
- Cause and effect (combine with Past Simple)
E.g. I got stuck in traffic because there had been an accident.
- Emphasize the result of an activity in the past
E.g. I had been to London twice by the time I got a job in New York.
3. Time expressions in the Past Perfect Tense
- the moment that