Many times there is a big confusion in English Language about the usage of Past Perfect Tense. Many students and Teachers are using this Past Perfect wrongly. So I thought of posting this article on past perfect with lot of simplicity.
what is past perfect tense
Firstly, You should understand about 2 important terms before using this Past Perfect Tense.
1) Long Past
2) Near Past
What is Long Past ?
Long Past is the action completed long before the near past. Check the below example for clarity.
e.g. When I arrived the Railway Station, the train had left.
In the above example, the train had left is the long past
What is Near Past ?
Near Past is the action completed after the long past
In the same above example, When I arrived the Railway Station is the near past
So remember Past Perfect Tense is used only when narrating 2 past actions in one single sentence where it is used for long past.
When I arrived the Railway Station, the train had left
Use the Past Perfect with third conditional sentences.
If we had gone by taxi, we wouldn’t have been late.
If Mary had studied harder, she would have passed the exam.
This use is the so-called hypothetical past: we are talking about things that never happened.
I wish I had fixed my umberella. (but I didn’t)
If only I had known the answer to that question. (but I didn’t)
Use the Past Perfect with sentences in reported speech.
Mary said she had already seen this film.
He asked if I had read Harry Potter.
Dissatisfaction with the Past
We often use the Past Perfect to show our dissatisfaction with the past. Such sentences typically start with “I wish” or “If only”
I wish I had taken more food. I’m hungry now.
If only I had taken more food. I’m hungry now.
The Past Perfect is also used with expressions such as “as if” and “as though”:
John looked as if he had done something terrible.
She looked as though she hadn’t slept all night.
Positive Sentences :
Before I went to the park, I had finished my work
If he had made the right choice, he wouldn’t be unhappy now
Mary said she had already seen this movie before
I wish I had had enough courage to kiss her!
Had she eaten the dinner before she went to the cinema?
I had not seen this movie before we went to the cinema yesterday to see it.
If he hadn’t made the mistake, he would be happy now.
Mary said she had not visited her father for a long time.
I wish I hadn’t done it!
past perfect tense examples
When I went to the class, Sir had already begun the class
When I went to the theater , they had started the movie
I arrived the station, when the train had already left.
They had worked and saved a lot of money before they retired last year.
I had written the letter before you came home.
If she had studied hard, she would have passed the English language exam.
I wish I had been brave enough.
Maria looked as if she had not slept for 48 hours.
I had finished my homework before I went playing football.
Maria had never been to London before we went there last year.
I had never seen camel before we went to the zoo
It had snowed in the early morning, so the bus didn’t arrive.
If I had known you were sick, I would have visited you
She had visited many doctors before she found out what the problem was.
He had already started to cook breakfast before his wife woke up.