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Past perfect exercises + PDF worksheets
PDF exercises to download for free:
- They graduated. They got married. (as soon as)
They got married as soon as they had graduated.
- After Sam ____ the bank, he got into his car. (leave)
After Sam had left the bank, he got into his car.
- (cook dinner) Betty had cooked dinner.
(not go out with her friends) She hadn't gone out with her friends.
- I didn't watch the film.
(you | see | it | before) Why? Had you seen it before?
- Mark is telling his sister about his friend's garden party. Complete the conversation.
- Practise the difference between these two forms.
Online exercises with answers:
- Complete the sentences. Use the past perfect simple and the past simple tense.
- Use the verbs in brackets to complete the sentences.
- Choose the correct answers to complete short conversations.
- Mark is telling his sister Eve about his friend's garden party.
- Practise the difference.
- Exercises with answers to learn the continuous forms.
- Exercises on passive forms.
- Compare the use and forms.
PDF grammar rules:
Past perfect rules PDF The past perfect simple and continuous.
English tenses PDF Grammar rules on all English tenses.
English grammar PDF All PDF rules on e-grammar.org.
The past perfect simple is made with the auxiliary verb had + the past participle of a verb (worked, tried / made, written).
Positive statement: I had travelled, He had done.
Negative statement: I had not done (I hadn't done)
Questions: Had I done?
Negative questions: Had I not done? (Hadn't I done?)
1. We use the past perfect simple to make it clear that an event was completed before another event.
The door bell rang at last. I had been in the room since breakfast.
(The bell rang at noon. I came in the morning - before that.)
When I arrived there Sarah had already left.
(I arrived after lunch. Sara went home before lunch.)
I was so hungry! I had not eaten anything since the morning.
(I was hungry in the evening. I did not eat anything before that.)
2. It is used to refer to activities that were completed just before a point in time.
In 2005 I had lived in the same place for ten years.
Had you ever travelled by plane before your holiday in Spain?
3. We also use the past perfect simple for an action that ended a long time before the point in time that we refer to.
In 2001 Angie worked in Glasgow. In 1980's she had worked in Wales.
Past perfect vs. present perfect
The past perfect is often used with expressions indicating that some activities took some time, such as: for 10 years, since 1995, all week, all the time, always...
These activities began before a point in time (or another action) and continued to that point.
When the plane landed Tim had been on board all day.
My parents moved away from Leeds. They had lived there since they got married.
In 2005 Derek started to work in Berlin. He had always planned it.
In this respect it is similar to the present perfect, which refers, however, to activities that started in the past and still continue.
I have been in Paris for a week.
(I came a week ago and I am still in Paris.)
When I met Annie I had been in Paris for a week.
(I came to Paris a week before I met Annie and I am not there anymore.)
Past perfect vs. past simple
The past perfect is used for events that happened before a point in time in the past. The past simple is used for activities that happened some time ago.
Jim returned at 4 o'clock. He had called Jane on the way back home and now she appeared at the door.
Read more: Past perfect vs. past simple
- All PDF exercises and grammar rules from this website.