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Past Simple or Past Perfect?

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These two tenses are both used to talk about things that happened in the past. However we use past perfect to talk about something that happened before another action in the past, which is usually expressed by the past simple.

For example:

"I had already eaten my dinner when he called."
In other words, First I ate my dinner, then he called.
The past perfect is often used with already, yet, just and even.

In the following sentences, do we need the past simple form of the verb, or the past perfect? The first two questions should remind you when we use each tense.

Note on questions 3 & 6: There is a possibility of both being correct BUT as we have two actions in the past and the homework happened first, it is better to use past perfect

Today's lesson is by Caroline

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  • 1. I can't believe she ___ my sandwich!

  • 2. I couldn't believe she ___ my sandwich!

  • 3. He ___ his homework so he was allowed to eat with us.

  • 4. I ___ of going to Italy before she suggested it.

  • 5. What ___ today?

  • 6. We ___ all our water before we realised there wasn't any left.

  • 7. We ___ the test when she told us there wasn't any time left!

  • 8. My dog ripped my dress! I was so upset, I ___ it!

  • 9. My Dad ___ to the supermarket this morning to buy some milk.

  • 10. I ___ for my exam all morning so I was really upset when I didn't do well.