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Past Perfect Tense

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Use the past perfect tense when referring to actions in the past that happened before another event in the past. It is used to talk about the past in the past.

I checked with the bank and they still hadn't received payment.

Subject + had + past participle

I had driven to work before you woke up.

We had gone before she arrived.

She had eaten breakfast.

Had you finished?

Had he taken you home?

Past Perfect in Reported Speech

We often use the past perfect tense when reporting speech:

She told me she had emailed you.

They said the game had been cancelled.

He asked me why we had taken so long.

Now complete these past perfect sentences:

  • 1) Sarah had never ___ a lion before yesterday.




  • 2) I did not understand the report because I ___ not attended the meeting.




  • 3) We had ___ living in London for 3 years before we bought our house.




  • 4) I only took my sister with me because she ___ me too.




  • 5) We could only understand each other because Helen had ___ Russian.




  • 6) Had you ever ___ a business lesson before you started working.




  • 7) She said you had ___ this clock in Milan.