Past Perfect Tense

The affirmative past perfect simple tense:

It consists of had + the past participle form of the verb (P.P):

(I, we, you, they, he, she, it) +had + P.P

For example:

I had studied hard last week.

Sam had played football 2 years ago.

It had rained 5 times last month.

The boys had shut the window yesterday.


The past participle form of the verb (P.P) is the third form of conjugating the verb and there is two ways for getting it according to the verb type:

1. Regular verbs: how to get the third form of the regular verbs:

We get the second form of the regular verbs by adding (-ed) to the verb ending in the same way we get the second form:

For example:

  • start: started: started
  • watch: watched: watched
  • wash: washed: washed

If the verb ends with (-e), we add (-d) only.

For example:

  • estimate: estimated: estimated
  • smile: smiled: smiled

If the verb ends with (-y), there are 2 cases:

1. If the (-y) is preceded by a vowel as in (play), we add (-ed) as known.

  • play: played: played
  • stay: stayed: stayed

2. If the If the (-y) is preceded by a consonant as in (cry), we replace the (-y) with (-ied).

For example:

  • cry: cried: cried
  • fry: fried: fried

Second, how to get the second form of the irregular verbs:

There is no rule for getting the third form (just like second form of the irregular verbs), so mainly we have to memorize them. In this pattern, there are 2 kinds of irregular verbs:

1. Irregular verbs with identical first, second and third forms.

For example:

  • shut: shut: shut
  • cut: cut: cut


2. Irregular verbs with different first, second and third form.

For example:

  • write: wrote: written
  • take: took: taken
  • eat: ate: eaten
  • see: saw: seen
  • go: went: gone
  • come: came: come


Note: there are 3 important verbs that you need to memorize their  third form (P.P) as you will most likely need them further on:

to be:

  • I am: was: been
  • We, you, they are: were: been
  • He, she, it is: was: been

For example:

  • I had been to this hotel before.
  • Two old football players had been in that match before they retired.
  • My sister had been to Netherlands when she was 21 years old.


to have:

Have: had: had

For example: I had had dinner long time ago.

to do:

Do: did: done

For example:

I had done my homework before I ate.


The negative present perfect simple tense:

The subject + had + not + P.P

For example:

I had not eaten rice yesterday.

Mel had not come home last year.


The interrogative the present perfect simple tense:

How to make questions using the present perfect simple tense:

Had + the subject + P.P..?

For example:

Question: Had the train left already?


No, it hadn’t/ Yes, it had.

Note: When constructing questions with question words, we add the question word before the last formulae as in:

Question: When had the train left?

Answer: The train had left before we arrived.


When to use the past perfect tense?

Words that express the past perfect tense:

1. To express actions that started in the past before another action. In this case, we have two actions: one happened first and the other happened after it. With the first action we use the past perfect tense, and with the second action we use the past simple tense.

For example:

  • I had entered 4 competitions before I won my first prize.
  • As soon as my brother had accepted the job, his manager called

2. The past perfect tense comes after the following words:

Till, until, when, after, no sooner, as soon as.

For example:

When my father had eaten the pepper, he drank water.



First, to make a sentence with “no sooner”, you need to follow one of the coming 2 patterns:

1. No sooner + had + subject + pp + than + past simple

For example:

No sooner had she started the game than she dropped out.


2. No sooner + did + subject + infinitive + than + past simple

For example:

No sooner did she start the game than she dropped out.


So if you face a situation when you are confused whether to use the P.P or the infinitive, look at the verb conjugation:

If it is the second form (did), use the infinitive.

If it is the third form (had), use the P.P.


Second, till and until comes in the negative sentences only.

For example:

It wasn’t until/ till 3 PM than my mother had arrived home.


Please follow and like us:
Content Protection by