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English Grammar

English Grammar

Past Perfect Verb Tense

When is the past perfect tense used?

The past perfect tense is used:

The past perfect tense is used to to clarify the order of two past actions.

The first action uses the simple past perfect tense

The second action uses that past simple verb tense.


  • I wasn't hungry when I came home from school. I had eaten on my way home from school.
  • We had already left for school, when I found out that the my English class was canceled.

The past perfect tense be used to state an action that occurred in the past was completed, before a 2nd action in the past started.

  • I was very tired when my friends came to pick me up. I had worked all day.
  • We slept only a few hours, when we had to wake up to go to school.

The past perfect tense can be used to answer the question "how many".


  • I had lived in in Europe, so many years ago.
  • We had visited so many different places, before we came home.

There are many cases where the past perfect continuous verb tense can be interchangeable with the simple past perfect tense.


Past Simple Tense

Past Simple Tense

Past Simple Tense Chart

Past Simple Tense Exercise 1

Past Simple Tense Exercise 2

Past Simple Tense & Present Perfect Tense

Past Continuous Tense