Past Perfect Tense

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What Is the Past Perfect Tense? (with Examples)

The past perfect tense is used to emphasize that an action was completed before another took place.

Examples of the Past Perfect Tense

Here are some examples of the past perfect tense (shaded): Of course, you can also have the negative version, which is formed "had not" + "[past particple]":
And, the question versions:

Forming the Past Perfect Tense

Here is an infographic explaining the past perfect tense:

Using Contractions

Don't forget that in speech and writing (especially informal writing), you will encounter the following contractions: Also, for the negative version, you will commonly see hadn't instead of had not.

The Other Past Tenses

The past perfect tense is one of four past tenses. They are:
The 4 Past Tenses Example
simple past tense I went
past progressive tense I was going
past perfect tense I had gone
past perfect progressive tense I had been going

Forming the Past Perfect Tense

The past perfect tense is formed:

had + [the past participle]

For example:

Forming the Past Participle (Regular Verbs)

If it's a regular verb, the past participle is the same as the simple past tense. In other words, it is formed like this:

Add "ed" to most verbs:
If a verb of one syllable ends [consonant-vowel-consonant], double the final consonant and add "ed":
If the final consonant is w, x or y, don't double it:
If last syllable of a longer verb is stressed and ends [consonant-vowel-consonant], double the last consonant and add "ed":
If the first syllable of a longer verb is stressed and the verb ends [consonant-vowel-consonant], just add "ed":
If the verb ends "e", just add "d":
If the verb ends [consonant + "y"], change the "y" to an "i" and add "ed":

Forming the Past Participle (Irregular Verbs)

If it's an irregular verb, the past participle is formed in all sorts of different ways. Here are some examples:
You just have to learn them.

Click here for a list of the most common irregular verbs.

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See Also

Tenses Simple past tense Past progressive tense Past perfect tense
Past perfect progressive tense Simple present tense Present progressive tense Present perfect tense Present perfect progressive tense Simple future tense Future progressive tense Future perfect tense Future perfect progressive tense