Verb tenses - simple past / past perfect

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HOW TO FORM IT: The past perfect tense is made with had/have + the past participle. With regular verbs, the past participle ends with "-ed."

THE BIG PICTURE: Use it when talking about two things that happened in the past. The past perfect shows which thing happened first.


  • Look for signal words "until" and "before" to know when a past perfect verb will be needed.
    - I had never met a Russian person before I went to Moscow.
    - Mary had never traveled oveseas until she went to England.

  • This case is used to express duration before another event occurred. The second event will be in the simple past tense.
    - Joe had had his Apple laptop for six years before his company bought him a new one.
    - Lisa had served her famous cheesecake every week for many years before her husband had his heart attack.

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