Past Perfect


Positive Subject + had + verb (p.p)
Negative Subject + had not (hadn’t) + verb (p.p)
Question Had + subject + verb (p.p)…?


He had finished his work before lunch time.

I hadn’t heard the news until I read (V2) the newspaper.

Had you finished your homework before you went to bed?


We use past perfect when we talk about:

 something that happened before another thing  that happened in the past Mary rang John’s doorbell yesterday but John had already left the house.

When we had finished eating we washed the dishes.

She went to bed after she had done her homework.


  1. Read the situations and write sentences from the words in brackets.

a. You went to Jill’s house but she wasn’t there. (she/go/out) She had gone out.

b. You went back to your home town after many years. It wasn’t the same as before.

(it/change/a lot)

c. I invited Rachel to the party but she couldn’t come.

(she/arrange/to do something else)

d. You went to the cinema last night. You arrived at the cinema late.

(the film/already/begin)

e. I was very pleased to see Tim again after such a long time.

(I/not/see/him for five years)

f. I offered Sue something to eat but she wasn’t hungry.



  b. It had changed a lot.

c. She had arranged to do something else./She’d arranged.

d. The film had already begun.

e.I hadn’t seen him for five years.

f. She had just had breakfast./She’d just had.

  1. Read the situations and write sentences ending with before. Use the verb given in brackets.

a. The man sitting next to me on the plane was very nervous. It was his first flight.

  (fly) He had never flown before. OR He hadn’t flown before.

b. A woman walked into the room. She was a complete stranger to me.

(see) I … before.

c. Simon played tennis yesterday. He wasn’t very good at it because it was his first game.

(play) He …

d. Last year we went to Denmark. It was our first time there (be) We …


b. I had never seen her before./I’d never seen.

c. He had never played tennis before./He’d never played.

d. We had never been there before./We’d never been there before. or … been to Denmark before.

  1. Put the verb into the correct form, past perfect (I had done etc.) or past simple (I did etc.).

a. ‘Was Tom at the party when you arrived?’ ‘No, he had gone (go) home.’

b. I felt very tire when I got home, so I … (go) straight to bed.

c. The house was very quiet when I got home. Everybody … (go) to bed.

d. Sorry I’m late. The car … (break) down on my way here.

e. We were driving along the road when we … (see) a car which. … (break) down, so we … (stop) to see if we could help.


b. went

c. had gone

d. broke

e. saw … had broken … stopped

The information we used is collected from different sources on the Internet and in English coursebooks.


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