The Past Perfect Tense
We use the past perfect tense to describe an action that occurred in the past before another
Notice that in the above examples that one action was in progress or finished before another action occurred.
- You came home but Mario had already left.
(Mario left before you came home.)
- She quit her job but she had saved enough money for her trip.
(She saved enough money for her trip before she quit her job.)
- I was taking a shower when you had called.
(I was in the process of taking a shower.)
- When he got home he found out someone had broken into his home.
(Someone broke into his home before he knew about it.)
- I was playing baseball when it had started to rain.
(I was in the process of playing baseball and later it started to rain.)
- They didn’t want to go with us because they had already seen the movie.
(They saw the movie before we asked them to go with us.)
- We didn’t go to dinner because we had already eaten.
(We ate before someone asked us to go to dinner with them.)
To intensify the action we often use the word “already” in the affirmative and “yet” in the negative.
We often use the word “never” when using the past tense in negative.
It’s sometimes easy to confuse the present perfect with the past perfect.
Look at the examples below and compare: