Past Perfect

The past perfect is formed by had + past participle

I had played          You had played          He / she had played          We had played          They had played

Past Perfect use

When talking about things in the past, sometimes we want to go back to something that happened before, this is when we use past perfect.

Normally, when you tell a story about something in the past, you tell the story in the order that the events happened.  But sometimes we want to jump back to something that happened before, this is when we use past perfect:

I woke up, I cleaned my teeth, I had my breakfast and then had a shower, I got dressed and left the house but then I realised that I had forgottenmy keys!

This can also be used in simpler sentences:

‘When I arrived at the restaurant everybody had already ordered drinks‘  (ordering drinks came first)

It is often used with the phrase ‘by the time…’

‘By the time I got to the meeting it had already started’

So the past perfect is when we talk about an event which is out of sequence with the other events.  But we can also use it at the start of a sentence.

‘The meeting had already started by the time I arrived’

Here the story is not about the meeting, but when I arrived, but before we even start the story we are jumping back to something that happened before.

Here again:

‘It had rained all day, so the ground was very wet when the cars started the race…’

In this example the story is not about the raining it is about the race, but just before we start talking about the race we want to give some background information about something which had happened before.

For more information about the past perfect click on the link below:

Narrating Tenses