Past Perfect


Past Perfect Simple

The past perfect simple expresses an action or state in the past that happened before another action or state. Often there is overlap with the past simple.


(+): Subject + had + past participle (verb-3).
(-): Subject + had not (hadn’t) + verb-3.
YN-Q: Had + subject + verb-3?

• The foreign students had mastered Hungarian before enrolling in the medical university.
• Why was Audrey so ecstatic yesterday? —> She had won the short-story competition.
• Patsy hadn’t known Mr. Easterling when she bought his car.
• Had you had lunch before you returned to work? —> No, I just grabbed some walnuts.

Past Perfect Continuous

The past perfect continuous refers to repeated actions or actions of long durations that began and ended in the past. It took place before another state or action.

(+): Subject + had + been + ing-form.
(-): Subject + had not (hadn’t) + been + ing-form.
YN-Q: Had + subject + been + ing-form?

• Mr. Browne has a bad hangover because he had been partying all night with his buddies.
• Theresa and Ludwig had been vacationing in Vieques, Puerto Rico. That’s why they’re so tanned.
• I had been job-hunting for 9-months. Then I decided to retrain as a nurse.
• Had your father always been teaching math? —> No, he hadn’t. Prior to that, he had worked as an engineer.

Answer or respond to the following. Say why and give examples.

Personal, Social

1. Some of my friends had finished university, then move away or emigrated. Yes or no?

2. I had been dating my wife/husband for six months before we got married. True or false?

3. Martin feels sick;

4. Veronica feels wonderful and fantastic;

5. Before Wolfgang/Monet got married, he/she had

6. After Facebook and Youtube had been developed,

School, Work

7. Our class had studied our native language before we started learning English.

8. Do or had your parents encouraged you to study hard and attend university?

9. Mojtaba owns a small business (a repair shop). Before that,

10. Maria is successful and prosperous. How did she do it?

11. Hae Ok had worked in Canada for seven years; now

12. Doran had worked as a computer programmer for nearly ten years. Then

Regrets, Wishes for the Past

13. Is there anything you wish you had done in the past? I wish I had ________.

14. What do you wish you hadn’t done in the past?

15. My mother and father say they wish they had________.

16. Is there anything that your grandmother/grandfather wishes that she/he had or hadn’t done?

17. Do you regret that you hadn’t been more serious in school?

18. My friend wishes he/she had studied __________.


19. Had various groups reached North or South America before Christopher Columbus?

20. Pancreasia is a modern, democratic country today because it had been a European colony. Do you agree?

21. This had been a great civilizations. Then

22. After Tim Berners-Lee had developed the world wide web,

23. Before modern democracy,

24. I wish our country hadn’t ____and had ____.

Hypothetical Situations

25. Mark had seen something interesting on the internet. What happened?

26. Liliana had been the best, brightest student in her class. What happened to her?

27. Frank had been a goof off, a class clown. Where is he now?

28. After Mr. Riley had won $1 million in the lottery,

29. Before Jim won the lottery,

30. Ernie is in prison because,

31. Dora and Andy have recently retired: she was a pop singer, while he played professional football. When she/he was young,


Share Button

Email this page