Unit 1.1

Past Perfect


We use the past perfect tense to talk about actions or events that took place earlier than other past actions in order to clarify that something had already happened at the time we are talking about.
{see Past Perfect, B1 level}


{see Past Perfect, B1 level}


  1. If only /I wishI had got my salary!
  2. How long had your tutor been out of town?
  3. I had hoped that she would be a writer, but she wasn’t good at writing.
  4. It was the second time that I had reached my goal.


We can use past perfect in the following cases:

  1. After if, wish and would rather to talk about past events that did not happen;
  2. To say how long something had continued up to a past moment;
  3. To express unrealized hopes and wishes;
  4. After it was the first/second… that… and similiar structures.


Past perfect is used to talk about past events that did not happen (with if, wish and would rather), to say how long something had continued up to a past moment, to express unrealized hopes and wishes, and with some specific structures (like it was the first/second… that…)

For example:
If only I had seen him yesterday! I would have told him the news.”
“Nadia had lived in Manchester for 20 years before she moved to London.”
“I had hoped I would finish the essay in two days, but the topic is very complex.”
“It was the first time he had visited the UK.”
“He visited the UK for the first time when he was fifteen years old.” = We use the past simple when we mention the time the past action took place.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.


External link to Past Perfect exercises (541).