Past Perfect Tense

The Past Perfect Tense is formed by combining the auxiliary verb ‘had’ with a past participle.

Auxiliary Verb ‘had’ + Past Participle = Past Perfect Tense

Examples:

had + drunk = had drunk

had + wiped = had wiped


The past perfect tense is used:

(i) to talk about two past actions which took place one after the other. The earlier action is in the past perfect tense while the later action is in the simple past tense. It is often used with adverbs such as ‘when’ and ‘after’.

Examples:

When I had taken my bath, I watched television.

In the above sentence, the earlier action (I had taken my bath) is in the past perfect while the later action (I watched television) is in the simple past.

Elaine saw a movie after she had done the household chores.

In the above sentence, Elaine's earlier action (she had done the household chores) is in the past perfect while the later action (she saw a movie) is in the simple past tense.


After Tommy had eaten a piece of cake, he drank a glass of milk.

When the police arrived, the burglars had fled.

All the vehicles stopped after the traffic lights had turned red.




(ii) in the reported or indirect speech. It is often used with verbs like ‘said’, ‘told’, ‘thought’, ‘wondered’, ‘asked’, etc.

Examples:

Eric said that he had done his homework.

Laura thought that she had forgotten to lock her car doors.

He told me that he had bought a new watch.

Judy wondered if her sister had reached home.

Professor Jim asked me whether I had completed my written assignment.


Exercises

A. Fill in the blanks with the past perfect tense of the verbs in brackets.

1. When the secretary ____________ (type) a letter, she made a phone call.

2. I washed the dishes after I ____________ (finish) my lunch.

3. Vivian thought she ____________ (meet) the man before, but she was wrong.

4. After Ivan ____________ (buy) a ticket, he entered the theatre.

5. Mr. Wagner washed his hands after he ____________ (visit) the bathroom.

6. Janet told me that she ____________ (find) a new job.

7. After my mum ____________ (fry) a few eggs, she made some sandwiches.

8. Joshua went strolling in the park when he ____________ (has) his dinner.


B. Fill in the blanks with the past perfect or simple past tense of the verbs in brackets.

1. They ____________ (say) that they ____________ (speak) to the manager.

2. When my maid ____________ (sweep) the floor, she ____________ (mop) it.

3. The passengers ____________ (alight) from the bus after it ____________ (stop).

4. Mrs. Jefferson wondered whether her son ____________ (does) well in his exam.

5. Margaret ____________ (grill) the prawns when she ____________ (shell) them.

6. After the farmer ____________ (harvest) the bunch of bananas, he ____________ (chop) down the tree.

7. The driver told Alex that he ____________ (board) the wrong bus.

8. After Mrs. Smith ____________ (wash) the clothes, she ____________ (dry) them under the sun.


Answers

A.

1. had typed

2. had finished

3. had met

4. had bought

5. had visited

6. had found

7. had fried

8. had had


B.

1. said, had spoken

2. had swept, mopped

3. alighted, had stopped

4. had done

5. grilled, had shelled

6. had harvested, chopped

7. had boarded

8. had washed, dried