Past perfect (I had done)

A. Study this example situation:
  Sarah went to a party last week. Paul went to the party too but they didn't see each other. Paul went home at 10.30 and Sarah arrived at 11 o'clock. So:
  When Sarah arrived at the party, Paul wasn't there. He had gone home.
  Had gone is the past perfect (simple):
  I/we/they/you or he/she/it had (= I'd etc./he'd etc.) gone/seen/finished etc.
  The past perfect simple is had + past participle (gone/seen/finished etc.). For a list of irregular verbs, see Appendix 1.
  Sometimes we talk about something that happened in the past:
  * Sarah arrived at the party.
  This is the starting point of the story. Then, if we want to talk about things that happened before this time, we use the past perfect (had ... ):
  * When Sarah arrived at the party, Paul had already gone home.
  Some more examples:
  * When we got home last night, we found that somebody had broken into the flat.
  * Karen didn't want to come to the cinema with us because she had already seen the film.
  * At first I thought I'd done the right thing, but I soon realised that I'd made a serious mistake.
  * The man sitting next to me on the plane was very nervous. He hadn't flown before./He had never flown before.
    B. Had done (past perfect) is the past of have done (present perfect). Compare:
    present perfect
  * Who is that woman? I've never seen her before.
  * We aren't hungry. We've just had lunch.
  * The house is dirty. They haven't cleaned it for weeks.
    past perfect
  * I didn't know who she was. I'd never seen her before. (= before that time)
  * We weren't hungry. We'd just had lunch.
  * The house was dirty. They hadn't cleaned it for weeks.
    C. Compare the past perfect (I had done) and past simple (I did):
  * 'Was Tom at the party when you arrived?' 'No, he had already gone home.'
  but 'Was Tom there when you arrived?' 'Yes, but he went home soon afterwards.'
  * Ann wasn't at home when I phoned. She was in London.
  but Ann had just got home when I phoned. She had been in London.


  15.1 Read the situations and write sentences from the words in brackets.
  1. You went to Jill's house but she wasn't there. (she/go/out) She had gone out.
  2. You went back to your home town after many years. It wasn't the same as before.
  (it/change/a lot)
  3. I invited Rachel to the party but she couldn't come.
  (she/arrange/to do something else)
  4. You went to the cinema last night. You arrived at the cinema late.
  (the film/already/begin)
  5. I was very pleased to see tim again after such a long time.
  (I/not/see/him for five years)
  6. I offered Sue something to eat but she wasn't hungry.
  15.2 Read the situations and write sentences ending with before. Use the verb given in brackets.
  1. The man sitting next to me on the plane was very nervous. It was his first flight.
  (fly) He had never flown before. OR He hadn't flown before.
  2. A woman walked into the room. She was a complete stranger to me.
  (see) I --- before.
  3. Simon played tennis yesterday. He wasn't very good at it because it was his first game.
  (play) He ---
  4. Last year we went to Denmark. It was our first time there (be) We ---
  15.3 Use the sentences on the left to complete the paragraphs on the right. These sentences are in the order in which they happened - so (1) happened before (2), (2) before (3) etc. But your paragraph begins with the underlined sentence, so sometimes you need the past perfect.
  1. (1) Somebody broke into the office during the night.
  (2) _We arrived at work in the morning._
  (3) We called the police
  We arrived at work in the morning and found that somebody had broken into the office during the night. So we ---
  2. (1) Ann went out.
  (2) _I tried to phone her_ this morning.
  (3) There was no answer.
  I tried to phone Ann this morning but --- no answer. She --- out.
  3. (1) Jim came back from holiday a few days ago.
  (2) _I met him the same day._
  (3) He looked very well.
  I met Jim a few days ago. He --- just --- He ---
  4. (1) Kevin wrote to Sally many times.
  (2) She never replied to his letters.
  (3) _Yesterday he had a phone call from her._
  (4) He was very surprised.
  Yesterday Kevin --- He --- very surprised. He --- many times but she ---
  15.4 Put the verb into the correct form, past perfect (I had done etc.) or past simple (I did etc.).
  1. 'Was Tom at the party when you arrived?' 'No, he had gone (go) home.'
  2. I felt very tire when I got home, so I --- (go) straight to bed.
  3. The house was very quiet when I got home. Everybody --- (go) to bed.
  4. Sorry I'm late. The car --- (break) down on my way here.
  5. We were driving along the road when we --- (see) a car which. --- (break) down, so we --- (stop) to see if we could help.


  2 It had changed a lot.
  3 She had arranged to do something else./She'd arranged.
  4 The film had already begun.
  5 1 hadn't seen him for five years.
  6 She had just had breakfast./She'd just had.
  2 I had never seen her before./I'd never seen.
  3 He had never played tennis before./He'd never played.
  4 We had never been there before./We'd never been there before. or ... been to Denmark before.
  1 called the police
  2 there was ... had gone I'd gone
  3 had just come back from holiday/'d just come ... looked very well
  4 had a phone call from Sally was had written to her I 'd written. had never replied to his letters/'d never replied.
  2 went
  3 had gone
  4 broke
  5 saw ... had broken ... stopped