Past Perfect Tense

Present perfect tense expresses an action that occurred or was completed in the past. Such an action has generally occurred a long time ago in the past. The purpose of using this tense is to give a sense of completion of an action in past as well as to give a sense that the action had occurred a fairly long time ago.

 She had bought a car last year.
 We had watched this movie three years ago.

It is also sometimes used to express an action in recent past when it is intended to describe the occurrence of one action before another action in past.


The patient had died before the doctor came.
You had gone before I reached there.

In the case of the above examples, the first part of the sentence is expressed in past perfect tense whereas the second part is generally expressed in past indefinite tense, or sometimes past continuous tense.

Structure of Sentence:

Main verb: 3rd for of verb (Past participle), e.g., written, eaten, gone.         
Helping verb: Had


 Subject + helping verb + main verb + object.
 Subject + had + 3rd form of verb + object.


He had gone to America in his childhood.
She had finished her work.
He had spent all the money.
They had succeeded in their mission.
He had gifted me a nice book.
We had shifted the furniture to a new house.
They had started a business.
She had bought a new car.
He had lost his camera.
We had earned a lot of money.
John had won the competition.
I had seen him somewhere.
You had spoken the truth.
I had given him a loan of $500.
They had won a prize.
You had gone before I reached there.
The patient had died before the doctor came.


In negative sentences, the word ‘not’ is added after ‘had’.

 Subject + helping verb + non + main verb + object.
 Subject + had + not + 3rd form of verb + object.


He had not informed us about his illness.
She had not completed his work.
He had not received my letter.
She had not bought a new dress.
They had not cleaned their room.
We had not watched that movie.
I had not seen your brother.
Sara had not passed the exam.
He had not stolen the money.
You had not helped me.
He had not applied for this job.
They had not eaten the meal.
The police had not identified the thief.


The question sentence starts with ‘had’.

 Helping verb + subject + main verb + object.
 Had + subject + 3rd form of verb + object.


Had she finished the task?
Had she cooked some food for the kids?
Had he participated in the game?
Had we broken the glass?
Had they won the competition?
Had you prepared yourself for the exam?

Had she brought a camera with her?
Had the kids eaten their food?
Had he bought a new laptop?
Had they helped you?
Had they gone to their college?
Had you seen him somewhere?
Had they solved your problem?
Had she taken the medicine when she was ill.
Had you watered the plant before it dried?
Had you used a calculator while you were attempting the mathematics test?