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English Grammar >>> Past Perfect Tense

 Structure Examples We use the Past Perfect Tense:
 To form the Past Perfect Tense we use had with the past participle form of the verb. Most past participles end in -ed (painted, arrived, visited, etc.). Irregular verbs have special past participles that must be memorized. (told, said, spoken, eaten, etc.)

 Affirmative form

he/she/it               had painted

ask - asked /-ed/
finish - finished /-ed/
want - wanted /-ed/

! Remember:

to be - been
to do - did
to have - had

 Negative form

he/she/it      HAD NOT /hadn't/
we                   PAINTED

1. I wish I hadn't painted the door red.
2. I knew that he hadn't told you the truth.
3. The doctor realised that the patient hadn't taken the medicine.

 Interrogative form

HAD       he/she/it       PAINTED?

1. Where had Steven gone?
2. When had Debora arrived?

1. When Linda arrived her husband had left.
2. I read in the newspaper that he had made a great discovery.
3. They were sure they had met the girl before.
4. John had repaired the car by 6 o’clock.
5. Lilly had already finished her homework when Victoria came.
6. Dan had painted (painted) the fence before his friends arrived.
7. After I had cooked (cooked) the dinner I watched TV.
to say that something had already happened before another action or specific time in the past (often with adverbs like already, until, already... by, before, after, just; if either before or after is used Past Simple may be used instead Past Perfect)

 the action which occurs previously in time is expressed in the past perfect tense, and the action which occurs later is expressed in the past tense
1. He told me that he had never been in London.
2. I asked him how many books he had sold.
3. Your parents wanted to know what you had done yesterday.
4. We wondered if Daniel had passed his final exam.
5. She said she hadn't left her job yet.
6. They told me they had been on vacation for a month.
in reported speech after verbs like told, asked, said, wanted, wondered, explained
1. I wish I had brought my camera. (but I didn't)
2. I wish we had stayed at another hotel.
to show regret about the past
1. If I had written the report last week I would have given it to you.
2. If the children had been good their mother would have taken them to the zoo.
3. He would have solved the problem if he had known how.
in third conditional, also called conditional type 3 (if + past perfect in the 'if' clause, perfect conditional in the main clause). This is a structure we use to talk about unreal conditions in the past.
1. No sooner had I returned home than it began to snow.
2. Hardly had he finished working, when his girlfriend arrived.
with conjunctions like no sooner ... than or hardly/barely ... when
1. I had lived in Spain for 3 years before I got used to the country.
2. He had worked there for two years before he got fired.
3. They had lived in New York for 5 years before they moved to Los Angeles.
a state that started in the past, and continued up to some time in the past

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