Definition of past perfect in English:

past perfect


  • (of a tense) denoting an action completed prior to some past point of time specified or implied, formed in English by had and the past participle, as in he had gone by then.

    • ‘For instance, the author systematically misuses the past perfect tense and passive voice in a way that makes it impossible to understand temporal relations.’
    • ‘The class was rather interesting for him, they were learning more of the present and past perfect tenses.’
    • ‘The past perfect tense effects the time shift.’


  • The past perfect tense.

    • ‘He also swings the poem wildly into the future and back again in his play with verb tenses, such as the future past perfect combined with the conjunctive in the lines, ‘We who will have been/compost could wood be/water ’.’
    • ‘This passage gestures towards both the past perfect, and future tenses, situating the term ‘habits’ between them in a manner suggesting mediation.’
    • ‘I mean experiments with stuff, with voices, tenses, the ablative, the past perfect.’
    • ‘Use of present perfect for simple past (I have seen her yesterday I saw her yesterday) and past perfect for present perfect (He had already gone home He has already gone home).’
    • ‘I know teacher-training institutions have toiled diligently to prove otherwise, but children don't just discover things like the past perfect, the subjunctive and the gerund.’
    • ‘When one reads his poems it is as if one is beginning a crossword puzzle in which all the clues point toward verbs written in the past perfect.’


past perfect

/ˈˌpast ˈpərfəkt/