Past Perfect Tense Rules, Examples and Sentence Structure


Past Perfect Tense – Rules, Examples and Sentence Structure. Find the Past Perfect Tense Examples and Exercises. You can clear your doubts about the past perfect tense. Past Perfect Tense is formed using the auxiliary verb ‘had‘ and third form of the verb. Let’s begin with some examples;

  • I had completed my work before father came.
  • She had prepared coffee before I reached.
  • The doctor came after the patient had come.
  • If you had worked hard, you would have been succeeded.
  • She told me that she had bought a new umbrella.

In the above sentences, you can note that the underlined words ‘had + verb III’ are showing the past perfect tense with simple past tense. In this post, the past perfect tense with rules, examples and exercises has been described.

Past Perfect Tense Rules, Examples and Sentence Structure
Past Perfect Tense Rules, Examples and Sentence Structure

Past Perfect Tense Rules with Examples

What is Past Perfect Tense?

The Past Perfect Tense describes an action or event that has been completed before a certain moment in the past. Two actions are described in this tense. In this tense an action is of past perfect and the other is of simple past tense.

Structure – Subject + had + verb III + object + other words + ……

Helping verb : Had

Main Verb: Verb III

Rules of Past Perfect Tense:

  1. We make the first finished action in Past Perfect Tense and the later finished action in Past Indefinite Tense (Simple Past Tense). The conjunctions ‘before’ and ‘after’ are used.
  2. For Negative Sentences we write had + not after the subject.
  3. Some adverbs like ever, never, after, before, already are used in this tense.

Affirmative Sentences

Simple of Affirmative Sentences are formed using the following sentence structure given below:


Before: Subject + had + verb III + object + Subject + Verb II

After: Subject + verb II + object + Subject + had + Verb III + object + other words

1. It started raining before I reached home.
2. The thief had fled before the police arrived.
3. The patient was dead before the doctor arrived.
4. Students had come to school before the bell rang.
5. He had reached home before you called.
6. It was rainy after the storm came.
7. The patient was dead after the doctor’s arrival.
8. After her dinner, Dad called her.
9. All the passengers had reached the station before the train arrived.
10. Mohan arrives at the bus station after the bus leaves.
11. I read this story after you left.
12. As soon as the children had reached the school, the bell had already rung.
13. When I reached the market, all the shops were closed.
14. Our team had scored 100 before 8:00.
15. Dad had reached office by noon.
16. By yesterday he had finished this story.
17. You bought medicine before I came.
18. He told me that he had missed his lesson.
19. He had already heard this news.
20. I had filled the form before the clerk arrived.

Read also:

Negative Sentences

Negative Sentences are formed using the had not or did not in the main clause. Hadn’t or had not is for past perfect tense and didn’t or did not for simple past tense. Let’s see the examples.


1. He had not eaten food before taking bath.
2. The girls had not gone to school before the bell rang.
3. Your brothers had not come home before the rain came.
4. She did not wake up before the sun went out.
5. The train did not miss before reaching your station.
6. I did not receive your letter after you left.
7. He did not sing after singing my song.
8. The washerman did not wash his clothes after washing them.
9. Ashoka had never seen the Taj Mahal before.
10. I did not receive your letter until yesterday.

Interrogative Sentences (Yes-No Type)

Interrogative Sentences with Yes-No Type Sentence Structure are given below. Just put had or did at the beginning of the sentence. Don’t forget to put a question mark at the ending of the sentence.


1. Did Grandfather read the Ramayana before you had left?
2. Had the police caught him after you left?
3. Had you ever seen the Taj Mahal before?
4. Had your brother already heard that news?
5. Had the thieves stolen money before the police arrived?
6. Did the parents come after the school had closed?
7. Had he come before the sun appeared?
8. Had Amit slept before you went to sleep?
9. Did the writer come after the audience had sat?
10. Did he drink tea before I went to sleep?

Interrogative Sentences (Wh-words)

In the wh-word Type Questions, you put the question word before the helping verb had or did. Let’s observe the examples below;


1. Who knocked at the door before I arrived?
2. What did you do after you had gone home?
3. Why had he never seen the Taj Mahal before?
4. What had the students done before the teacher entered the classroom?
5. What had you bought from the market by evening?
6. How many runs had our team scored by the time of tea?
7. Where did the bandits go after the police had arrived?
8. What did the children bring before grandfather had taken juice?
9. Who had reached the zoo before I arrived?
10. Who had written the essay till morning?

Use of Past Perfect Tense

Use – 1

The Past Perfect Tense is used to express an action or event that has ended before some other action or event in the past time.


1. Sumit had written a letter before his father came.

2. The police caught the thief after he had stolen money from the bank.

3. She had already sung this song.

4. The storm had come before it rained.

5. I made a mistake after before you had instructed me.

Use – 2

The past perfect tense is used to express an unfulfilled wish or desire.


1. They had wished to get the job by January.

2. I had hoped to visit the city of Pope.

3. She had intended to fly an aeroplane.

4. My family had wished to see the Taj Mahal.

Use – 3

It is used to express unfulfilled condition in the past time.


1. If she hadn’t helped me, I would have been ruined.

2. If I had worked hard, I would have got this post.

3. She would have forgotten us if we hadn’t written a letter to her.

4. If you had instructed me well, I wouldn’t have made a mistake.

5. If the policeman hadn’t run fast, he wouldn’t have caught the criminal.


Before learning the past perfect tense, you must learn simple past tense well. You must know its rules and sentence structure with examples. You should know where you can use it. Past perfect tense doesn’t seem to be difficult. But you can learn it if you don’t miss any rule or structure with proper use of past perfect tense. Examples of past perfect tense can help you a lot understand it.

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