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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #64718: Past perfect tense
    > Other English exercises on the same topic: | Past [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Past simple or present perfect - Past tenses - Past simple (video) - Modal: may/might - Past simple or continuous - Placement test 1 - Adverbs and past tense - Choosing your past tense...
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    Past perfect tense

    The past perfect tense is used when we wish to mention an action which was completed sometime in the past before another action took place.

    That is to say , when two actions take place in the past we use the past perfect tense for the action which took place first and the simple past tense for the action which takes place next.


    Consider the sentence:

    When I arrived at the cinema the film started. There is a problem in this sentence. One would wonder whether I arrived at the cinema before the film had begun or after it had.

    Now consider the sentence:

    When I arrived at  the cinema the film had already started. Things become clear now ( I was late when arriving at the cinema ).


    The past perfect tense is formed by using  'had' plus the past participle of the given verb.

    For instance,

    I ( arrive at ) the station before the train left. The past perfect tense would be 'had' plus past participle of arrive ie arrived

    So, I had arrived at the station before the train left.

    It is the same for all the persons ie had plus past participle of the given verb.


    N.B. Please remember to use the past perfect tense for the action which occurs first in the past and the simple past tense for the action that occurs next.

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    English exercise "Past perfect tense" created by sreedhar with The test builder. [More lessons & exercises from sreedhar]
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    1. Before we arrived at school the classes (start) .

    2. I felt exhausted because I (run) ten miles.

    3. He (study) that book before he arrived in Pakistan.

    4. He (sell) all the copies of the thesaurus before we got there.

    5. We went to his place for dinner but to our great surprise he (have) his dinner.

    6. When I got up , rather late, the sun (rise)

    7. Before we got there they (begin) the show.

    8. He (finish) his work before I began mine.

    9. It (begin) to rain when I stepped out of the house.

    10. Soon after they (complete) their homework they ran out to play with the dog.

    End of the free exercise to learn English: Past perfect tense
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