Past Perfect Tense

The perfect tenses in English are hard for many learners at first. You will need to practice and look at lots of examples to be sure you understand.

The past perfect tense can be especially difficult. We use this tense to talk about actions in the past that had an effect on a later action or time in the past.

For example:
  • I had finished making dinner by the time Edwin got home.
    (I finished making dinner, so it was ready when Edwin got home.)
  • We had studied Spanish before we moved to Ecuador.
    (We studied Spanish first, so we spoke a little when we got to Ecuador.)
Remember that the first action in the past must have an effect on the second action or moment in the past. This is how the perfect tenses are used.

First, read the explanation and examples of the past perfect tense. Then you will be ready to practice with some exercises and by writing examples of your own.

You can also get some wonderful practice by reading funny stories with the past perfect tense used in context. It might seem complicated at first, but soon you will feel very comfortable using this tense.