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Past Perfect. Grammar with Mary
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Past Perfect. Grammar with Mary

LEVEL 3, 4 |

Do you still have difficulties understnding the Past Perfect? 

Listen to this podcast to learn how to use the Past Perfect correctly!

Written and voiced by Mary Mironova

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Past Perfect

Hi, today we are going to talk about a new tense!
It is called Past Perfect. This tense is very easy, you're going to like it. I promise!

So, imagine that you came home and smelled something cooking. It was delicious, and you were very hungry.

Your mother had already come home, and she had already cooked dinner.

So what happened first? Did your mother come home before you?
Or did you arrive before your mother?

Yes, you are right! Your mother came home first and started cooking. And she had already cooked dinner when you arrived. Both actions, the cooking of dinner and your arrival home, happened in the past. But one action happened earlier.

We use the Past Perfect for an action that happened before another action in the past.

So in our case Past Perfect is for the cooking.

Your mother had already cooked dinner and then you came.

The action that happened later, you came, needs Past Simple. So Past Perfect happened before Past Simple.

Romeo and Juliet had already fallen in love before they got married.
The criminal got into prison because he had killed a man. He had robbed him and stolen his car.

How do we form the Past Perfect tense?

This is actually very easy!
For the affirmative form, we use had and the third form of the verb, the past participle.

Please, make the affirmative past perfect form of "to steal".
Yes, right. It is had stollen.

What about "to work"?
Yep, it is had worked.

For the negative form, we use had not and the third form of the verb.

Let's make the negative past perfect form of "to keep".
Good job! It is hadn't kept.

Alright. Now let's make the interrogative (question) form. This is how we do it.
Question word, then had, then subject, and then the third form of the verb.

Let's make a question for this answer: Jane had eaten an apple.
Great! What had Jane eaten? You're right!

Now tell me what had you done before you started listening to this podcast?
What had you done before you went to bed yesterday?
What had you never done before you turned ten?

I hope that you understand the Past Perfect tense now.
Good luck!