Easy Learning

The past perfect tense - Easy Learning Grammar

Typical forms of this tense are as shown in:
  • I had misheard.
  • She had misheard.
  • I had finished.
  • She had found them.
  • She’d gone.
  • They’d found her.
  • Had I misheard?
  • Had it gone?
  • Had Mary arrived before Peter told you? – No, she hadn’t.
  • I had not misheard.
  • He had misheard.
  • I had not finished.
  • It had not worked.
  • I hadn’t realized how serious the problem was.
  • They hadn’t seen her.
The contracted forms are:
had = ’dhad not = hadn’t
The past perfect tense goes one step further back into the past than the present perfect.
  • Had you ever seen her before then? – No, I hadn’t.
The past perfect tense is used to talk about:
  • an action that took place in the past before something else took place.
  • She had just made some coffee when I arrived.
  • an action or state that began before another action in the past and continued up to the time of the second action and perhaps even beyond that time.
  • Ashraf had already known my brother for two years when I met him.
  • It is often used in the main clause of a complex sentence, to set the scene for a past event.
  • We had always wanted to visit Canada for a long time, so last year we decided to go.
  • It is often used with a time expression such as always or for several days.
  • We had always wanted to visit Canada, so last year we decided to go.

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