English Grammar Lesson: Past Perfect Tense

Michael Uncategorized 7 Comments

In English grammar, perfect tenses are used to show that one thing happens before another thing in the past. For today’s English lesson, I am going to show you how to use the past perfect tense.

The structure of the past perfect tense is had + past participle (pp):

  • had eaten
  • had gotten
  • had arrived

Look at these two sentences. Our friend Jack did two things last night, and we use the simple past tense to talk about each thing:

  1. Jack finished his homework at 8:15
  2. Jack started watching TV at 8:30

Using the past perfect tense, we can combine both sentences into one sentence, like this:

  • Jack had finished his homework before he started watching TV.

We often use time expressions like before, when, already, and by the time with the past perfect.

  • Jack had graduated from college before he got married.
  • Jane had gone to Washington two years before moving to the USA.
  • The class had already started when Joe got to school.
  • Most of the guests had already left when Bob arrived at the party.
  • By the time Cathy reached the station, the train had already left.

Now it’s your turn. Think about two things you did yesterday and write an original sentence using the past perfect tense. Use the comment box below!

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If you know anyone who has trouble with this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them.

Thanks for studying today!