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  • Hi, everybody.

  • I'm Esther.

  • In this video, I will introduce the past perfect tense.

  • This tense is used to describe an action that took place at a specific time in the past.

  • This tense can be a little tricky, but don't worry I will guide you through it.

  • There's so much to learn and it's a very important tense.

  • So keep watching.

  • Let's take a look at the first usage of the past perfect tense.

  • This tense can be used to describe an action in the past

  • that happened before another action in the past.

  • Here are some examples.

  • 'I have visited China before I moved there.'

  • No matter what the subject you follow with 'had',

  • So that's easy.

  • 'I had' 'Steve had'

  • 'The plane had' and 'We had'.

  • Then, we follow with the past participle of the verb.

  • In this case, it's 'visited'.

  • 'I had visited China.'

  • Now you'll notice that the second verb is in the past simple tense.

  • 'I moved there.'

  • And I'll talk about that a little bit more later on.

  • 'Steve had bought the book.'

  • Again, 'subject', 'had' and 'past participle'.

  • In this case, the verb is 'buy'.

  • 'Steve had bought the book before he read it.'

  • Again, we have the simple tense of 'read' which is 'read'.

  • And finally, 'The plane had left by the time I got to the airport.'

  • Again, the first part of this sentence is in the past perfect tense.

  • 'The plane had left'.

  • This is the past participle of 'leave'.

  • The second verb says, 'I got to the airport.'

  • 'got' is the past tense of 'get'.

  • Now what these three sentences have in common is that you'll see, 'before'.

  • 'before' or 'by the time'.

  • They all mean the same thing.

  • The verb that is in the past perfect tense happened first.

  • The verb that's in the past simple tense happen after.

  • So again, for the first example.

  • 'before I move there' That happened later.

  • Before that, 'I had already visited China.'

  • Do you understand how that works?

  • Let's take a look at the last example.

  • 'When they arrived, we had already started the game.'

  • So maybe they were late or something had happened.

  • But 'When they arrived', this is the past simple tense.

  • So this happened second.

  • 'We had already started the game.'

  • This action had already started.

  • It started before this action.

  • Let's move on.

  • Earlier I mentioned that the past perfect tense can be used to describe an action

  • that happened in the past before another action in the past.

  • We can do the same thing but also emphasize the duration.

  • How long that first action happened.

  • We do this by using four and a duration.

  • Let's take a look.

  • 'I had owned my computer for two months before it broke.'

  • This is very similar to the first usage.

  • 'I had' and the past participle of the verb.

  • This part shows the action that happened earlier in the past.

  • The second part, 'it broke'.

  • The past simple tense verb shows the action in the past

  • that happened later than the first action.

  • However, you'll notice that this sentence has a duration, 'for two months'.

  • 'I had owned my computer for two months before it broke.'

  • All I'm doing here is showing how long the first action had been true.

  • Let's take a look at the next example.

  • 'Jim had been lonely for a long time until he got a puppy.'

  • Again, we have subject 'had', past participle.

  • And then we have the past simple 'he got a puppy'.

  • All we're doing here is emphasizing how long first action had been true.

  • He had been lonely for a long time.

  • That is until the later action, 'he got a puppy.'

  • And finally, 'She and I had been friends for many years before she became my wife.'

  • The first part of the sentence is the past perfect.

  • It happened before she became my wife.

  • But I want to explain how long that had been true for many years.

  • Let's move on.

  • Now I'll introduce how to form the negative in the past perfect tense.

  • Take a look at the board.

  • The first sentence says, 'I had not eaten at the restaurant before I went yesterday.'

  • Again, we have the past perfect tense here and the past simple tense here.

  • This one is the action that happened earlier in the past

  • And this one over here is the action that happened later in the past.

  • However, because this is the negative, what I'm going to do is add a 'not' between

  • the 'had' and the past participle of the verb.

  • So I say, 'I have not eaten'.

  • Or I can use the contraction

  • and say, 'I hadn't eaten at the restaurant before I went yesterday.'

  • The next sentence is very similar.'

  • 'She had not been to the circus before she went last week.'

  • Here's the action that happened earlier in the past,

  • and here's the action that happened later in the past.

  • However, again, because it's negative,

  • I put a 'not' between 'had' and the past participle of the verb.

  • Also, I can use the contraction and say, 'She hadn't been to the circus.'

  • The next sentence says,

  • 'The cat hadn't chased the bird for very long before it flew away.'

  • Remember, we can show duration,

  • or how long the first action was true.

  • by using 'for' and a duration.

  • Because this is the negative form,

  • again, I use 'had not' after the subject and before the past participle of the verb

  • In this case, the contraction 'hadn't' is already there for you.

  • 'We hadn't known each other for three months before we married.'

  • That's a pretty short time.

  • It shows the duration by saying 'for', How long?

  • 'three months'

  • Let's move on.

  • Now, let's take a look at questions using 'had' in the past perfect tense.

  • Take a look at the first sentence.

  • It says, 'She had eaten lunch by noon.'

  • Now, to turn this into a question is quite easy.

  • All you have to do is change the order of the first two words.

  • So instead of 'she had', we say 'Had she'.

  • 'Had she eaten lunch by noon?'

  • You can say, 'Yes, she had.'

  • or 'No, she hadn't.'

  • The next sentence says, 'It had rained before they left.'

  • Again simply switched the order of the first two words.

  • Instead of 'It had', say 'Had it' to make a question.

  • 'Had it rained before they left?'

  • To reply you can say, 'Yes, it had.'

  • or 'No, it hadn't.'

  • Let's move on now.

  • I'll go into how to form 'WH' questions in the past perfect tense.

  • Let's take a look.

  • Here we see at the beginning of each question a 'WH' word.

  • 'where', 'who', 'what', and 'how'.

  • Let's take a look at the first question.

  • 'Where had he traveled before?'

  • You'll notice that after each 'WH' word, we have 'had'.

  • And then the subject and then the past participle of the verb.

  • 'Where had he traveled before?'

  • The next question says, 'Who had she talked to before?'

  • This is the same thing the 'WH' word

  • 'had she' and then the past participle.

  • You'll notice here that we have the word 'before', but we didn't write a specific point in time.

  • If you see that it simply means before now.

  • The next question says, 'What had he eaten before lunch?'

  • Again we follow the same formula, however, here it says 'lunch for you'.

  • The last one says,

  • 'How long had she known him before she dated him?'

  • Again how long 'had' + 'subject' and then the past participle.

  • Let's take a look at how to answer these questions.

  • 'Where had he traveled before?'

  • 'He had traveled to Europe.'

  • is one possible answer.

  • 'Who had she talked to before?'

  • Here I can say, 'She had talked to her brother.'

  • 'What had he eaten before lunch?'

  • 'He had eaten sushi before lunch.'

  • And finally, 'How long had she known him before she dated him?'

  • 'She had known him for three years.'

  • That is one possible answer.

  • Let's move on.

  • Now let's take a look at some practice exercises for the basic usage of the past perfect tense.

  • Take a look at the first sentence.

  • 'I blank for six hours before I had a break.'

  • The verb here is 'work'.

  • Remember, we need to say 'I had'.

  • No matter what the subject is, say 'had'.

  • And then, you take the past participle of the verb.

  • In this case, we would say 'worked'.

  • 'I had worked for six hours before I had a break.'

  • For the next sentence, I want you to try the negative form.

  • 'We blank TV before we listened to the radio.'

  • Remember, for the negative form, we say 'had not'

  • or we use the contraction, 'hadn't'.

  • 'We hadn't'.

  • And then, we need the past participle.

  • 'We hadn't watched TV before we listened to the radio.'

  • Now find the mistake in the next sentence.

  • 'Reggie had it be to Mexico before he went to Peru.'

  • Well, we have the subject here and for the negative, 'hadn't' is correct.

  • However, we need the past participle of the verb 'be'.

  • So the correct answer is,

  • 'Reggie hadn't been to Mexico before he went to Peru.'

  • And finally, 'Sally and Jan or they had do their job.'

  • Hmm.

  • Remember, we need the past participle.

  • We don't say do.

  • We say 'done'.

  • 'Sally and Jan had done their job before they watched TV.'

  • Let's move on.

  • In this checkup, we'll take a look at some practice exercises

  • for the past perfect tense that describes how long.

  • Let's take a look at the first sentence.

  • 'You blank at the park for three hours before you came home.'

  • Remember, we start with the subject and then 'had'.

  • So I'm going to add that here,

  • then we need the past participle of the verb 'be'.

  • And that is 'been'.

  • 'You had been at the park for three hours before you came home.'

  • The next sentence says,

  • 'They blank for six hours before they took a break.'

  • Again, no matter what the subject, we have 'had' and then the past participle.

  • So the answer is,

  • 'They had studied for six hours before they took a break.'

  • Now, find the mistake in the next sentence.

  • It's a little bit longer so it might take you a while.

  • 'They had been known each other for ten years before they had their first fight.'

  • Can you find the mistake?

  • Well, we have the subject and 'had', but check this out.

  • There are two past participles here.

  • We need to get rid of one of them.

  • We can take out this verb and say, 'They had known each other for ten years

  • before they had their first fight.'

  • The next sentence says, 'I have played soccer for many years before I scored my first goal.'

  • This sentence doesn't look wrong at first.

  • But remember, in the past perfect tense, we need to say 'had'.

  • 'I had played soccer for many years before I scored my first goal.'

  • Good job, everybody.

  • Let's move on.

  • Great job, everyone.

  • Now you have a better understanding of the past perfect tense.

  • I know it can be a little difficult but keep studying,

  • and keep practicing, and you will get better.

  • I know studying English is not easy but with time and effort,

  • I know you'll master it.

  • Thank you so much for watching and I'll see you in the next video.

Hi, everybody.

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Basic English Grammar Course | Past Perfect Tense | Learn and Practice

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