Past Perfect Simple

Past perfect tense

The past perfect refers to an event that was completed at some point in the past before something else happened. It is formed by combining the auxiliary verb had with the past participle of the main verb.

Form of the past perfect simple:

Had Past Participle Form

Affirmative Negative Interrogative
I had worked. I had not worked. had I worked?
You had worked. You had not worked. had you worked?


I had not worked = I hadn't worked
I had worked = I'd worked

Use of the past perfect simple:


Use the past perfect tense to show an action that was completed prior to another action that took place in the past.


  • He had learned Spanish before he went to Spain.
  • President Lincoln had attended the theater before his assassination in 1865.
  • They had had lunch when I arrived.
  • She passed the exam because she had worked very hard.

Past Perfect Continuous
Past perfect continuous.

Exercises on the past perfect and past perfect continuous.