Actions and states before a time in the past

We use the past perfect to describe an action which is completed before a time in the past. The past perfect simple makes it clear that one action or event was completed before the second one started. We can include a specific time reference:

By the time the UN task force arrived, the rebel forces had taken the province.

We can use the past perfect for repeated actions:

The new owners found that the timbers had been patched up several times.

We also use the form to describe a state which existed before a past event:

At the time of her trial last year Hinkley had been in prison for eight months.

Sequence in the past

We can us the past perfect to make a sequence of events clear. We use the past perfect for the earlier action and the past simple for the later.

When we got back the babysitter had gone home.

We can use just or already with the past perfect to show that the earlier action was recent or earlier than expected:

We wanted to talk to the babysitter but she had just left.

When we got back we found that the babysitter had already gone home.

We can us the past perfect or the past simple with time conjunctions, e.g. after, before, as soon as, then:

She ushered me out of the room as soon as I paid / had paid my subscription.

With before + past perfect the action in the past simple happens first:

I left university before I’d taken the final exams.










We use the past perfect continuous to describe an ongoing situation or action which continued up to, or stopped just before, a time in the past.

He had been working for over an hour before the auditors turned up.

We often use this tense to explain a past result, e.g. a situation or an appearance:

The few survivors looked painfully thin. They had been living on a meagre rations since the accident.

We use this tense when we want to focus on duration:

Kubrick had been trying to get the film made for more than twenty years.

The eager fans had been waiting in line for over six hours.



Fecha: 11/6/2017 | Creado por: Maria Carolina
Categoria: Unit 3