Past Perfect Tense
How do we make the Past Perfect Tense?
The following guideline is used to construct the past perfect tense:
|subject||+||auxiliary verb HAVE||+||main verb|
|conjugated in simple past tense||past participle|
To create negative sentences using past perfect tense, place not between the main and auxiliary verbs. To ask a question, switch the place of the subject and auxiliary verb. For example, the following sentences are all in the past perfect tense:
|subject||auxiliary verb||main verb|
To communicate in the past perfect tense, we often contract the subject and the auxiliary verb:
How Do We Use The Past Perfect Tense?
The past perfect tense is used to illustrate an action in the past that occurred before another action in the past, or the past in the past. Look at the first two sentences and how they form an example of the past perfect tense in the third sentence:
- We ate dinner at 6pm.
- The movie started at 7pm.
- When the movie started, we had eaten dinner. (past perfect)
|When the movie started we had eaten dinner.|
|The movie started in the past at 7pm.|
|We ate in the past at 6pm.|
Here are a few more examples:
- I won the game because I had played it before.
- We arrived late, we had missed our bus.
- I had arrived earlier than Jim.
- I had already finished dinner when she called.
- Jenny did not know him. She had never seen him before today.
The past perfect tense can be thought of as the present perfect tense. The difference is that the point of view is in the past instead of now.
|past perfect tense||present perfect tense|
Imagine that your friend asked you to dinner, but you tell her:
- I have already eaten dinner.
Later, she says to another friend the following in the past perfect tense:
- I asked Bob to go to dinner, but he had already eaten.
When we use reported speech we often use the past perfect tense. There are certain verbs such as imagined, thought, wondered, asked, told and said that are used in this type of structure.
- I told them I had been ill.
- She explained that she had missed her bus.
- I didn’t realize they had met before.
- I asked if she had eaten yet.
- She wondered when she had met him before.