Past Perfect

1. Use of the Past Perfect

1.1. together with the Simple Past

Mary had read the book before she watched a film.

1.2. the past equivalent of the Present Perfect

He had played hockey.

2. Signal words

no unambiguous ones

3. Form

had + past participle *

4. Examples

4.1. Affirmative sentences in the Past Perfect – regular verbs

Long forms Contracted forms
I had played handball. I'd played handball.
You had played handball. You'd played handball.
He had played handball. He'd played handball.

4.2. Affirmative sentences in the Past Perfect – irregular verbs

Long forms Contracted forms
I had ridden the bike. I'd ridden the bike.
You had ridden the bike. You'd ridden the bike.
He had ridden the bike. He'd ridden the bike..

4.3. Negative sentences in the Past Perfect – regular verbs

Long forms Contracted forms
I had not played handball. I'd not played handball.
I hadn't played handball.
You had not played handball. You'd not played handball.
You hadn't played handball.
He had not played handball. He'd not played handball.
He hadn't played handball.

4.4. Negative sentences in the Past Perfect – irregular verbs

Long forms Contracted forms
I had not ridden the bike. I'd not ridden the bike.
I hadn't ridden the bike.
You had not ridden the bike. You'd not ridden the bike.
You hadn't ridden the bike
He had not ridden the bike. He'd not ridden the bike..
He hadn't ridden the bike

4.5. Questions in the Past Perfect – regular verbs

Long forms Contracted forms
Had I played handball? There are no contracted forms.
Had you played handball?
Had he played handball?

4.6. Questions in the Past Perfect – irregular verbs

Long forms Contracted forms
Had I ridden the bike? There are no contracted forms.
Had you ridden the bike?
Had he ridden the bike?

5. Be careful!

Past Perfect Simple Past
The match had started when he arrived.
Simple Past Simple Past
The match started when he arrived.

* past participle:

  • regular verbs → infinitive + -ed
  • irregular verbs → 3rd column of the table of the irregular verbs