Sunday, March 2, 2014

Past Perfect Tense

9:45 PM

I had sung

The past perfect tense is quite an easy tense to understand and to use. This tense talks about the "past
in the past".
In this lesson we look at:

How do we make the Past Perfect Tense?
The structure of the past perfect tense is:

For negative sentences in the past perfect tense, we insert not between the auxiliary verb and main
verb. For question sentences, we exchange the subject and auxiliary verb. Look at these example
sentences with the past perfect tense:

When speaking with the past perfect tense, we often contract the subject and auxiliary verb:

The 'd contraction is also used for the
auxiliary verb would. For example, we'd can

  • We had
  • We would

But usually the main verb is in a different
form, for example:

  • We had arrived (past participle)
  • We would arrive (base)

It is always clear from the context.

How do we use the Past Perfect Tense?
The past perfect tense expresses action in the past before another action in the past. This is the past in
the past. For example:

  • The train left at 9am. We arrived at 9.15am. When we arrived, the train had left.

Look at some more examples:

  • I wasn't hungry. I had just eaten.
  • They were hungry. They had not eaten for five hours.
  • I didn't know who he was. I had never seen him before.
  • "Mary wasn't at home when I arrived."
    "Really? Where had she gone?"
You can sometimes think of the past perfect tense like the present perfect tense, but instead of the time
being now the time is past.

 We often use the past perfect tense in reported speech after verbs like said, told, asked, thought,

Look at these examples:
  • He told us that the train had left.
  • I thought I had met her before, but I was wrong.
  • He explained that he had closed the window because of the rain.
  • I wondered if I had been there before.
  • I asked them why they had not finished.

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