Past Perfect Tense (had +
The past perfect tense expresses one
past time before another past time. A common use of the past perfect tense is to indicate
time that precedes a particular point in a past narrative.
A. The past perfect tense
often occurs in sentences containing dependent clauses. The verb in the main clause is
usually in the past tense, and the verb of the dependent clause is in the past perfect
tense. For example:
M The teacher had
finished calling the roll when Jack walked in.
1. Past perfect tense
can¡¦t be used as a simple sentence. For example:
a. He had eaten his
b. He had told me the story.
2. In the
sentence which involved the conjunction ¡§after¡¨ and ¡§before¡¨, the time sequence
has been indicated, so we can use ¡§had + p.p.¡¨ or ¡§the simple past tense¡¨
to express the sentence. For example:
c. After he (had) left the
classroom, the teacher came in.
d. We (had) started
on a journey before it began to rain.
express the historical truth, we don¡¦t need to use ¡§had + p.p.¡¨ to express the event
happened earlier in the past time. For example:
e. Our teacher told us
that Columbus discovered ( not had discovered) America in 1492.
B. Past perfect tense used
in indicating the event that had been completed at a point in the past time, or indicating
an event that continued until one point in the past time. For example:
1. All his friends had gone to
bed by 11 o¡¦clock last night.
2. Peter, who had waited since
ten o¡¦clock, was angry with his sister when she finally came.
C. Past perfect tense used in ¡§reported
speech¡¨ indicates the event happened in earlier past. For example:
1. He told me
that he had met her three days before.
2. She wondered who
had left the door open.
D. Past perfect tense can be used in
expressing the plan hadn¡¦t been fulfilled in the past, intending, or hope. Generally
used with such verbs like¡Xplanned, hoped, meant, intended,
expected, wished, etc. for example:
1. I had meant to call on you
last night but it rained.
2. Jenny had planned to go abroad but
her mother fell ill suddenly.
The other way to write
the sentences above: (general use)
a. I meant to have called
on you last night but it rained.
b. Jenny planned to have
gone abroad but her mother fell ill suddenly.
E. The past perfect
form usn"">  mood cannbsp; I have already
d my job.
1. If he had known the
secret, he would have told us.
2. He talked as if (=
as though) he had met a ghost.
Future Perfect Tense