Verbs – Past Perfect Tense

The past perfect indicates that an action or a condition took place once or many times before another event that happened in the past.

Gina was tired because she had not slept well last night.

Observe the two things that happened in the past.

More recent event (past)

Gina was tired

+ conjunction

because

Event that happened first

she had not slept well last night.

The past perfect tense in English is formed using the subject + the auxiliary verb had + past participle.

She

had not

slept


Therefore, you can use specific time with the past perfect.

We had had the car for ten years before it broke down in 1980.

The past perfect tense could also refer to a lack of experience rather than an action that happen some time in the past.

She had never heard soca music before she visited her relatives in Trinidad.

Can you determine which event happened first, and which happened last?


Note, the placement of the adverbs in the following sentences.

Mr. Pacheco arrived in the classroom as I had just sat down.

Mr. Pacheco arrived in the classroom as I had barely sat down.


Some more examples:

Questions: