Past Perfect for intermediate learners

This tense is an advance tense and we use it to talk about the past in a lot of interesting ways, and you’ll see what they are. So are you ready? Let’s start.

"Past Perfect" Tense in English Grammar

What Is Past Perfect?

To learn about the past perfect you need to consider two events one of which happened sooner than the other. Both of the events are in the past.

What Is the Structure?

The structure to form a sentence in the past perfect tense is:

They had studied English before studying French.

He had already drunk his tea when I got there.

Why Do We Use Past Perfect?

The past perfect tense is used to talk about an event that happened before another event in the past. Look at the examples:

He had talked to me about his decision and I accepted it.

In this example, he talked about his decision first, and then she/he accepted it.

I had finished my essay before going out for the party.


To negate a sentence in the past perfect tense, you have to use the following structure:

Here are a few examples:

They hadn't had dinner by the time I got there.

I hadn't talked about it since he brought it up himself.

Question Form

To form an interrogative sentence sentence in the past perfect tense, you have to use the auxiliary verb had' at the beginning of the sentence. Here are a few examples:

Had you been in Korea?

Had he started the fight?


The past perfect tense is used to talk about a past event that happened sooner than another past event. Here is the structure:

  • subject + had + past participle


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