The past perfect simple


The past perfect simple tense is used to talk about an action that was completed at a given point in the past before something else happened. It is formed by adding the past participle of the verb to had. To get more details about this tense, take a look at the following table.

Basic notes about past perfect simple

FORMRule: subject  + had + past participle
Affirmative/Positive: I/We/They/He/She/It had gone/finished/studied
Negative: I/We/They/He/She/It had not gone/finished/studied
Interrogative: Had I/We/They/He/She/It gone/finished/studied?
USE/FUNCTION1) An action that happened before another in the past and had just finished or was still continuing
2) In conditional type  3
3) In reported speech
EXAMPLES1) – When we arrived at the cinema the film had already started.
2) If I had received your e-mail, I would have contacted you.
3) When I met him he told me that he had been sick over the past months.
– just
– never
– when
– before/after
– by the time


Put the verbs between brackets in the past perfect tense

  1. Christy (already, adopt) _______ ______ _______ several dogs before she adopted Molly.
  2. Seth (seldom, play) _______ _______ _______soccer before he tried out for his school’s team.
  3. That species of elephant (recently, disappear) ______ ______ ______ from the area, so we  were not able to see it.
  4. It was a good year for Melissa; she (quickly, sell) ______ ______ ______ her quota of houses and was rewarded with a vacation.
  5. by the time Edward left Elise, he (forgive, not, yet) ______ ______ ______ .
  6. The company (seriously, consider) ______ ______ ______ moving its plant to Iowa, but chose Oregon instead.
  7. Lucia (frequently, think) ______ ______ ______ about returning to her home in Costa Rica before she found a job in New York.
  8. The history class members (usually, watch) ______ ______ ______ a movie the day before a test.
  9. The new citizens (solemnly, swear) ______ ______ ______ their loyalty to the country when they took the oath.
  10. The car still costs ______ ______ ______ $15,000, even after the price (be) reduced.
  11.  I (study) _______ _______ extremely hard before the test was given.
  12. You (pick) _______ _______ a lot of tomatoes from your garden before we had any ripe ones in ours.
  13. We (expect) _______ _______ to find many vacant hotel rooms, but we only found one.
  14. They (play) ______ _______ in the Super Bowl in 1990, so they were more prepared in 1995.
  15. He (enjoy) _______ ______ color photography before he tried black-and-white film.
  16. She (look) _______ ________ all over town for a formal dress before she found one she liked.
  17. The animal (jump) ______ _______ out of its cage just before we arrived at the zoo!
  18. Tonya (work) _______ _______ as a decorator before she opened her shop.
  19. The power supply (fail) _______ _______ during the night, so the house got cold.
  20. You (call) _______ _______ earlier in the day, so we knew you were on your way.

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