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Past Perfect Tense


By the word ‘perfect’ in the  title,  we can understand that the ‘action’ being mentioned here is already completed and  by the word ‘past’, we can conclude that the ‘completed action’ is  happened   in the past tense.

So,  when we make  the  pattern of past perfect tense, the  form of  ‘Have’, that is  ‘had’, should be  brought here as the auxiliary verb and the verb used with it should be the V3 form( past participle form of the verb)

Now, we can make its pattern as,

S + had+ V3 + O .

As there is only one auxiliary verb (had) here,  we don’t have to concern about the numbers of the subjects,  that is ‘singular’ and ‘plural’.

Eg: Martin( singular) ‘had finished’ his work. ( had + V3 of finish( finished) )

      They( plural) ‘had planned’ the tour programme.  ( had+ V3 of plan( planned) )

So, we have studied the pattern of the past perfect tense and understood how to write the sentence .


Now, let’s study its uses.

Past perfect is used to denote an action happened in the distant past.


That is, an action already happened in the past.


Eg: Thomas had given me all   the instructions for operating the machine so that I could handle it easily.


When we have to mention two incidents in the past, the ‘first incident’ should be mentioned in ‘past perfect’  and  ‘the second’ should be in ‘simple past’.

Eg: When I reached  the Exam hall, the Exam had started already.

First incident— the exam had startedhad + V3 form of start  ( started)

Second incident—  I reached—– did + reach = reached


The  timing words of past perfect tense.

 ‘Already’,  ‘never’,  ‘ever’, ‘scarcely’, ‘hardly’, etc.  (These words are applicable only when the sentence is in past tense)

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