Past Perfect Tense – a sequence of events

We use past perfect tense to show the most remote event in a sequence of events.

That means if there are two events and it is important to show that one is earlier, we use past perfect tense for that event.

I had already seen the movie when she invited me.


I saw the movie then she invited me.

Link to Universal City Project

He had already divorced his wife when he met the waitress from Uncle Ginzo’s restaurant.

he had divorced
he met

Compare the opposite sequence:

He had already met the waitress when he divorced his wife.

he had met
he divorced

World English Course

There are lots of things you can learn in the World English Course. There is a place where you can talk about work and there is also a place where you can find a job and a place where you can find staff. There is a place where you can have fun and there is a place where you can talk about food or family. There is also a place where you can talk about money or love or philosophy. You can study anything you want anytime you want. You can do it once a week or every day or any time you like. Have fun! Work hard! Tell your friends and family members! Enjoy!

Past Perfect in Context


The Old Queen
Look at these examples:

The Old Queen

Her mascara had run.
She had been crying.
She had been drinking heavily.

Note that there are two past perfect tenses. They are:

Past Perfect Simple

Her mascara had run.

Past Perfect Continuous

She had been drinking heavily.

The Construction Worker’s Experience

He had worked for one of the TDM crews.

He had had that experience.

Note how the story begins with past simple. It is a description of a man. It is a series of simple facts. Suddenly it refers to a state of affairs or facts at an earlier time.

an earlier state of affairs
an earlier set of facts

The tense changes from Past Simple Tense to Past Perfect Tense:

He had worked for the TDM crews. He did not work for them at the time of the description but he had worked for them. He had had that experience. It had helped to make him who he was.

The Construction worker
(who had worked for the TDM crews)

He had been married before but he was divorced now.

He had been inside most of the major pillars.

Passive and Active in Past Perfect Tense

She had washed the purple carrot.
The purple carrot had been washed (by her)(so it was clean).

Practise these patterns in:

The Story of the Purple Carrot.

The Band of Robbers

Leave A Comment...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.