Past Perfect

Read the following sentences.

  • Mother said that she had finished cooking. 
  • I had done my homework before I went to school.

What is past perfect? 

Past perfect is the combination of the past form of have and the perfect aspect of verb.


Past Perfect=had + past participle


If you have already known the use of present perfect, the learning of past perfect will be easy for you. 

The present perfect refers the time up to now. The past perfect refers the time up to then

1. Finished Action Before Another Action

We use past perfect when one action happened before another action in the past. 

  • The doctor came after the patient had died
  • The patient had died before the doctor came. 

Note the use of the linking words after and before.

Past Perfect + before + Past Simple

Past Simple + after + Past Perfect

2. In Reported Clause

We use past perfect in the reported speech when the reporting verb is in the past. 

  • He said that he had seen the tiger. 
  • Father told me that he had bought a new car.