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. Past events that did not happen
    If only I had got my salary!
  2. How long
    How long had your tutor been out of town?
  3. Unrealized hopes and wishes
    I had hoped that she would be a writer, but she wasn’t good at writing.
  4. it was the first/second… that…
    It was the second time 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 actions or events that took place earlier than other past actions, in reported speech, with the third conditional and to express unrealized hopes and wishes.

We can use it in its different forms:

  • Affirmative: We start with the subject followed by had and the past participle.
  • Negative: We start with the subject followed by had not and the past partciple.
  • Interrogative: We start with had followed by the subject and the past participle (the sentence ends with a question mark).

It has three forms:

  • Affirmative: Subject + had + past participle + …
  • Negative: Subject + had not + past participle + …
  • Interrogative: Had + subject + past participle + …?

For example:
— “I had played football for 5 years before I became a coach.” = In this sentence, there are two different actions that took place in the past. To put them in an order, we write the first action in the past perfect tense, and we used the past simple tense to indicate that the second event happened first.
” I played  football” = We use the past simple to express the idea of an action that started and concluded in the past.
“My Mum had intended to organise a pool party but it started raining.” = We use the past peferct to express an unrealized wish: My Mum wanted to organise a pool party but she couldn’t because of the weather.

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


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