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GRAMMAR & STRUCTURE — Examples
Past Perfect

 
 

Sentences using the past perfect

Past Perfect Sentence

First Action

Second Action

Explanation

I had lived with my girlfriend for two years before we got married.

had lived

got married

The two past actions are:

  1. Lived with girlfriend 1999-2001

  2. Got married 2002

The use of the past perfect (had + past participle) shows which is the first action.

When she found the perfect pair of shoes, Kelli had already tried on 10 pairs of shoes.

had tried on

found

The two past actions are:

  1. Tried on shoes 1:30-1:45

  2. Found the perfect pair of shoes 1:50

The use of the past perfect (had + past participle) shows which is the first action.

The employee had worked at the company for 20 years when she retired.

had worked

retired

The two past actions are:

  1. Worked at the company 1978-1998

  2. Retired 1999

The use of the past perfect (had + past participle) shows which is the first action.

After I had locked the door, I closed it.

had locked

closed

The two past actions are:

  1. Locked the door 1:00
  2. Closed the door 1:01

The use of the past perfect (had + past participle) shows which is the first action.

She said she had bought a new car.

had bought

said

The past perfect is also used in reported speech sentences.