Past Perfect Simple

The past perfect simple is used to talk about an event or a state in the past, before another action in the past.

Positive sentences

To form past perfect simple sentences we use the past form of the auxiliary verb “have”, followed by the past participle form of the main verb.

Subject + had + past participle

I had finished lunch before he called me.
We had ended the meeting before Tom arrived.

Negative Sentences

To form negative sentences in the past perfect simple we use the negative form of the auxiliary verb.

Subject + had not (hadn’t) + past participle

I hadn’t heard the news before I met her.
They hadn’t been to Italy before their trip last summer.
We hadn’t known each other before yesterday’s meeting.


To form past perfect questions we put the auxiliary verb before the subject.

Had + subject + past participle

Had you already known that when the presentation begun?
Had they read the report before the meeting begun?
Had she worked with their department prior to that project?