Grammar – Past perfect


When to use past perfect

We use the past perfect when we are talking about the past and want to talk about something that happened before. Past perfect is the past of the past.

For example, you wanted to meet a girl at a party. You went to the party at 9pm, but she left at 8pm.

She left before I arrived at the party.

Or, you could use the past perfect and say,

I arrived at the party at 9 pm but she had left.

We only use the past perfect when we are already talking about the past. For example, we couldn’t say ‘She had left.’ without first saying that we went to the party.

The past perfect is like the past of the present perfect. For example:

How to use past perfect

  • Put had after the subject.
  • Put the past participle of the main verb after had.
  • had shortens to ‘d in many sentences.

She had left.

She‘d left.


  •  Put not between had and the past participle.

She had not left.

  • Often had not is written as hadn’t.


  • For questions, put had, then the subject, then the past participle.

Had she left?


Grammar - Past Perfect

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