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Past Perfect Tense

We use the past perfect tense to signify an action that was completed before another took place in the past. The form of the past perfect tense is 'had' then the past tense of the verb.



  • When two actions happened in the past, the action that happened first is expressed in the past perfect tense.
    I just now posted the letter that I had written in the morning.
    (The writing of the letter happened first.)
    When we reached the school, the bell had already rung.
    (The ringing of the bell happened first.)


  • The past perfect tense is used to report actions that happened in the past. Therefore, it is used in indirect or reported speech.
    My mother told me that she had baked some cookies for my friends.
    Mary said that she had done the homework already.

Past Perfect Verb Tense in English | English Grammar Lesson

Past perfect tense worksheets


Choose either worksheet 1 or worksheet 2 (trickier) to complete.

Answers available now!