Tenses & Timelines: Perfect Form-Past*

Tenses & Timelines: Past Perfect

April 4, 2019

Native English Instructor

Written by Douglas Shaw

The past perfect is used to go further back in time, it refers to actions or events in the past that happened before others actions:

simple past perfect

There are usually two completed actions in the sentence; one happens before the other.

Form the past perfect using the auxiliary verb (had) and the main verb with (ed).

Subject + had + past form of the main verb + before + subject + simple past tense . 

  • The students had completed the task before the teacher asked.
  • I had bought a phone before you came here.

Before + subject + simple past tense + subject + had + past form of the verb +.

  • Before I went to the office, I finished some laundry.
  • Before she went home, she had taken a test.

Subject + simple past tense + after + subject + had + past form.

  • I went to the office after I had finished some business with her.
  • Mark played baseball, after I had bought him a bat.

After + subject + had + past participle + subject + simple past tense .

  • After the teacher had gone, I came in.
  • After I had bought the tickets, she came to the theater.
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