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Past Perfect Simple

The past perfect simple expresses an action taking place before a certain time in the past.

Form of Past Perfect Simple

no differences I had spoken. I had not spoken. Had I spoken?

For irregular verbs, use the past participle form (see list of irregular verbs, 3rd column). For regular verbs, just add ed.

Exceptions in Spelling when Adding ed

Exceptions in Spelling when Adding edExample
after final e, only add d love – loved
final consonant after a short, stressed vowel
or l as final consonant after a vowel is doubled
admit – admitted
travel – travelled
final y after a consonant becomes i hurry – hurried

Use of Past Perfect

  • action taking place before a certain time in the past
    (putting emphasis only on the fact, not the duration)

    Example: Before I came here, I had spoken to Jack.

  • Conditional Sentences Type III (condition that was not given in the past)

    Example: If I had seen him, I would have talked to him.

Signal Words

  • already, just, never, not yet, once, until that day (with reference to the past, not the present)
  • If-Satz Typ III (If I had talked, …)

Exercises on Past Perfect

Grammar in Texts