The Past Perfect: Do You Know When to Use it?

The Past Perfect is FUN! – Honestly!

When do you use the past perfect?

You use the past perfect to show the relationship between two events in the past. The event that happens first is used in the past perfect and the event that happens second is used in the past simple.


past perfect english lesson


How do you form the past perfect?

We form the past perfect by using “had” + “past participle”

E.g. When I arrived at the party, they had left.

In this sentence, which event happens first?

a) You arrived at the party
b) They left

If you said, b) They left… YOU ARE CORRECT!!

Here are some more examples of the past perfect:

  • When they got to the cinema, the film had started.
  • I went to the supermarket to buy milk but when I got home, I saw that Ben had already bought it.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The past perfect is not a difficult grammar point to understand but you will have to practise it a lot to get it perfect.


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The Past Perfect is FUN! – Honestly! When do you use the past perfect? You use the past perfect to show the relationship between...
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