The fire had died out by the time I found the marshmallows.
The past perfect tense is a tense that we don’t use very often. We use it most when people forget something that happened in their story and they want to add it now.
How to use past perfect
We use the past perfect tense to show the relationship between two events in the past. Past perfect shows which event occurred first.
- e.g. I had eaten dinner before I arrived at the party.
In the example above “had eaten” happened before the party. The order of events is ate dinner then arrived to the party.
We create past perfect sentences by had + past participle.
- e.g. had eaten
- e.g. had walked
- e.g. had forgotten
We create negative past perfect sentences by had + not + past participle.
- e.g. had not eaten
- e.g. had not walked
- e.g. had not forgotten
We create past perfect questions by had + subject + past participle.
- e.g. had he eaten?
- e.g. had he walked?
- e.g. had he forgotten?
Remember irregular verbs don’t end in “ed.” The only regular verb above is walk. Both eat and forget are irregular verbs and don’t end in the typical way.
- e.g. eat > ate > eaten
- e.g. forget > forgot > forgotten
Where will you see past perfect
You will see past perfect in conditionals. Conditionals are also called “if statements.”
- e.g. If I see him , I will let you know.
An example of a conditional using past perfect is:
- e.g. If I had known, I would have told you.
You will see past perfect in the above type of conditional. It is a past unreal conditional or a third conditional.
Can you think of some examples of past perfect?