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Past Perfect Worksheets

Review and Exercises


Here is a quick review of the past perfect before you begin the worksheet. In general, the past perfect is used to express something that had happened before something else in the past. The key to understanding the past perfect is that is used to express something which was completed in the past before something else took place.

Past Perfect Positive Form Review

Subject + had + past participle + objects


Alex had finished the test before Tom asked to see it.
They had lived in France for 10 years before they moved home.

Past Perfect Negative Form

Subject + had not + past participle + objects


She hadn't eaten by the time he arrived.
We hadn't bought the car when he told us the news.

Past Perfect Question Form

(Question Word) + had + subject + past participle?


Had you done anything before he arrived?
What had she done to upset you so much?

Important Note!

Regular past participles in '-ed', irregular past participles of verbs vary and must be studied.

Time Expressions with Past Perfect for Past Action before another Action in the Past

Already / Before

'Already' is used in the past perfect positive form to something that something had been completed before another action occurred.
'Before' is used in the past perfect in a similar sense to 'already', but in all forms.


They had already completed the work when he arrived.
She hadn't been able to eat lunch before he telephoned.


'For' is used to express the duration of time something had happened before something else occurred in the past.


Susan had worked as an assistant manager for five years before she was promoted.
They had lived in that house for ten years before he moved in with them.

By the Time

'By the time' is used to express the point in time up until which something had happened.


By the time he asked me, I had completed everything he requested.
They had eaten by the time he walked into the room.

Past Perfect Worksheet 1

Conjugate the verb in parentheses in the past perfect tense. In the case of questions, use the indicated subject as well.

  1. They ____ (eat) before he arrived.
  2. ____ (you finish) the report before he asked for it?
  3. Jennifer _____ (buy) the house before the market crashed.
  4. What _____ (she do) that upset him so much?
  5. Our boss _____ (not make) the decision yet when management changed their mind.
  6. The students _____ (write) the report, but the teacher made them do it again.
  7. Mark _____ (want) to go to New York, but his wife changed his mind.
  8. _____ (they invest) in that stock before the market improved?
  9. Alex _____ (not do) the gardening before it started raining.
  10. Their decision _____ (make - passive voice) before conditions changed.
  11. We _____ (eat already) so we weren't hungry.
  12. _____ (Tom choose) the color for his room before he was asked to paint it black?
  13. Sarah _____ (drive) three hundred miles by the time she arrived in Tacoma.
  14. Few people _____ (understand) the news when the consequences began to appear.
  15. The reporter _____ (not tell) the cameraman to get ready when the president walked into the room.
  16. Bob _____ (purchase) the first generation iPad two weeks before the second generation was introduced.
  17. I _____ (print) the report before he gave me the updates.
  18. _____ (Henry come) home before the called the police?
  19. She _____ (not complete) the article when the news changed everything.
  20. The coach _____ (reserve) rooms for everybody so there weren't any problems.

Past Perfect Worksheet 2

Choose the correct time or quantity expression used with the past perfect tense.

  1. How (much / long) had you known Peter before he proposed?
  2. They had (yet / already) eaten by the time he arrived.
  3. Cathy hadn't finished the report (when / by) the time he asked for it.
  4. Phillip had requested all the forms (as soon as / before) he began the application process.
  5. How (much / long) wine had they drunk before they were asked to stop?
  6. She had made the decision long (after / before) he asked her to marry him.
  7. They had always wanted to visit Amsterdam (so / as) they went!
  8. Jackson hadn't been able to read the book (when / as) the teacher asked him to quote from it.
  9. Susan had (yet / already) printed the report before her boss requested it.
  10. Had they (yet / already) heard the news or were they surprised?

Check your answers on the next page.

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