Grammar: When do we use the past perfect tense

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the perfect tense english grammar

Dear Ajarn Ken,

Can you tell me please, how to use the past perfect tense. When is it that I can use it best?


Emy from Spain

Hi Emy,

OK, it can be very easy - When you want to say that something in the past was affected by something that happened prior to that, you can use this tense. For example:

  • When I got to Wembley, the concert had started.
  • After he had served his time, the criminal was released.
  • By the time Mark arrived at the party, everyone had left.

You should note that the past participle form of the main verbs (started / served / left) are used after the past tense form of the auxiliary or helping verb verb have (had).

Hope this answers your question!

Thanks for your email.

Ajarn Ken

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