Past Perfect Tense

Past Perfect Tense

“Past perfect'' is a term of English grammar that is used to describe an action that was done before another action in the past.

Grammar is the backbone of any language to express it properly. The application of grammar is used to make a sentence by precisely arranging a group of words. Tense is a part of English grammar, and there are three tenses. They are “present tenses, past tenses and future tenses”. Each of the three tenses has four categories according to the competition of any action. Therefore, four categories of past tenses are: “simple past, past continuous, past perfect continuous and past perfect tenses”. “Past perfect tense” is also known as a pluperfect. It is used to express an incident that occurred before completing other actions in the past. 


What is the “past perfect tense”? 

This tense is a category under the past tense of English grammar. It is used for interpreting the sequence of incidents that occurred in the past. It describes the phenomenon that was completed before doing another action in the past. 

Rules in “past perfect tense”

The sequence to construct a sentence using these tenses is: 

Subject → had →“past participle form” of main verb 

“Had” is called an auxiliary verb, and it remains unchanged whether the sentence’s subject is plural or singular. The formula also remains similar for both cases. 

Example: “Fatema had completed her task before Rajiya started writing.”

In this sentence, “completed” is the “past participle form” of’ “complete”. 

Difference between simple past and past perfect

A simple past is used to explain any task that happened in the past. It did not explain the sequence of the actions when more than one action was done in the past. Past perfect can be applied in a sentence for explaining the condition of any phenomenon. The writer needs to use it in a paragraph for indicating a specific instance of any incident. 

Use of “past perfect tense.”

It can be applied to express any incident, including its cause and effect. This type of example is given below. 

Example: “If Karna had studied the whole year, he would have passed his annual exam.” 

It cannot be applied whenever the sequence of the incidents is not conveyed by someone. It won’t be very clear for anybody to know what he is doing. 

Example: “Rani had finished her meal.”

This example is not clear to understand the proper sequence of the work. It indicates an incomplete sentence. 

Construction of negative sentences using “past perfect tense.”

It is totally simple to construct a negative sentence with this tense. “Not” is added after ‘had’ and before the past participle of the sentence. The sequence of the sentence is as follows:

Subject → had →not → “past participle” of main verb 

Example: “The teacher had not taken any classes because he was ill.” 

Interrogative sentence construction by applying “past perfect tense.”

The sentences which describe any question are called interrogative sentences. Interrogative sentences can be constructed by using this tense very easily. The auxiliary verb “Had” is written at the beginning of the sentence. Then the subject is added after it. Finally, the past participle of main is written after the subject. At last, the subject ended with the object with a question mark. Therefore, the sequence is:

Had → subject →“past participle”

Example: “Had Monika ordered the dress before she started studying?”

Difference between past perfect and present perfect

The present perfect tense is applied to express any task completed before the present time. But past perfect implies the sequence of two incidents that have completely happened in the past.

Some features of “past perfect tense.”

It is effective to be clear about the phenomenon that was done fast in the past among more than one action.

  • This form of the past tense is associated with two parts.
  • The phenomena done first are presented by using “had → past participle”.
  • The incident next to it is expressed by following the sequence of simple past tense “subject →past form”.
  • Sometimes, it is useful to express the reason and the consequence of any phenomena together in a sentence. 

Importance of “past perfect tense”

This tense is necessary for any sentence construction without any grammatical error. It is highly essential for the description of past phenomena with proper sequence. It is different from simple past and perfect continuous tenses. The application of it is very important for discussing the history with proper sequence. One can use it to describe any result with its cause to others while expressing an opinion about any action. 


It can be concluded that “past perfect tense” is highly important for the knowledge of English grammar. Sentence construction is totally dependent on the application of correct tense. It is a common subject for life. From the beginning of the education, the learners need to know about the tense properly. The questions regarding the “past perfect tense” are always asked in most of the job exams. English grammar is also a major topic under the SSC exam. Most of the Indian exams are conducted with a part of English grammar. Therefore, a deep knowledge about “past perfect tense” is highly important for everybody. Moreover, it is very necessary to improve writing skills for the whole life both for writing efficiency and exam cracking.