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Past Perfect Simple Tense

The past perfect simple tense is used to show that an action was completed before another action or time in the past.

Positive: subject + had + past participle
Negative: subject + had not + past participle
Question: Had + subject + past participle

Common uses:

1. To indicate that an action was completed before another action in the past

  • I had finished my homework before I went to bed.
  • He hadn’t prepared the food before his guests arrived.
  • Had they left the party before we got there?

2. To describe a past event that happened at a specific time or over a specific period

  • She had lived in New York for five years.
  • They hadn’t known each other at high school.
  • Had he played chess every day for a year?

3. To express a hypothetical situation in the past

  • If I had studied harder, I would have passed the exam.
  • If he hadn’t left when he did, he would have missed the train.
  • Had they listened to my advice, they would not be in trouble now.

Check your understanding of the past perfect simple tense

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