We use the verb had and the past participle for the past perfect:

I had finished the work.
She had gone .

The past perfect continuous is formed with had been and the -ing form of the verb:

I had been finishing the work
She had been going.

The past perfect is used in the same way as the present perfect, but it refers to a time in the past, not the present.

We use the past perfect tense:

  • for something that started in the past and continued up to a given time in the past:

When George died he and Anne had been married for nearly fifty years.
She didn’t want to move. She had lived in Liverpool all her life.

We normally use the past perfect continuous for this:

She didn’t want to move. She had been living in Liverpool all her life.
Everything was wet. It had been raining for hours.

  • for something we had done several times up to a point in the past and continued to do after that point:

He was a wonderful guitarist. He had been playing ever since he was a teenager.
He had written three books and he was working on another one.
I had been watching the programme every week, but I missed the last episode.

We often use a clause with since to show when something started in the past:

They had been staying with us since the previous week.
I was sorry when the factory closed. I had worked there since I left school.
I had been watching that programme every week since it started, but I missed the last episode.

  • when we are reporting our experience and including up to the (then) present:

My eighteenth birthday was the worst day I had ever had.
I was pleased to meet George. I hadn’t met him before, even though I had met his wife several times.

  • for something that happened in the past but is important at the time of reporting:

I couldn’t get into the house. I had lost my keys.
Teresa wasn’t at home. She had gone shopping.

We use the past perfect to talk about the past in conditions, hypotheses and wishes:

I would have helped him if he had asked.
It was very dangerous. What if you had got lost?
I wish I hadn’t spent so much money last month.

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

1)The lady prayed to the lord Buddha that her son be restored to life.
2)They advised the students that everyone read the instructions carefully.
3) The man asked his son that he go to Agra by car.
Sir, in all these three sentences above are of past subjective mood. How we come to know that the sentences are of indirect prayer, indirect advise, and indirect order respectively.
Please explain
Thanking you

Hello Mohd Zaffar,

Grammar determines how the sentence is formed but the communicative use of a sentence depends upon several things: the lexis (the vocabulary), the context and the speaker's intention as well as the grammar structure used. In your examples the key element is the particular item of vocabulary used: pray, advise and ask.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

1)She began to cry before I asked about her.
She has began to cry before I asked about her.
2)She began to cry after I reprimanded her.
She began to cry after I had reprimanded her.

Which one is correct and please help me with more example.

Hello Mohd Zaffar,

The second sentence is incorrect because we do not mix a present perfect form ('has began') with a finished past time reference ('before I asked').

The other three are all possible. However, which is required will depend upon the context in which it is used. We can't provide long explanations of multiple forms like this in these comments sections. If you can describe the particular context for us then we can tell you which example would best fit, however.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir , where I can get the explanation of different use of these type of sentences in different contexts?
Thanking you

You write:
We use the verb had and the past participle for the past perfect:
I had finished the work.
She had gone .

Those are both sentences, beginning with a capital letter and ending with a period.
Neither sentence is past perfect.
I said what I mean and I mean what I said. In the absence of context, NEITHER ONE is past perfect.

.brad.wednesday.31may2017.

Hello bradvines,

Both of those sentences are past perfect. Past perfect is a term which describes a grammatical form, not a use or meaning. The context can determine whether that form is appropriate or not or whether or not it is used correctly, but the context does not change the grammatical form of the verb.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I'm trying to understand one of the examples you gave above; "They had been staying with us since the previous week."

I thought the correct way of saying this would be - "They HAVE been staying with us since the previous week." - since this even is still ongoing?

Please clarify! Thank you!

Hello ProEnglish,

If the speaker is speaking in the present then a present perfect form would be appropriate, as you say. However, if the sentence is part of a narrative (using narrative tenses) then the time reference is past and the past perfect would be appropriate. Context here determines which form is appropriate.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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