Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 2 – Episode 42 – Grammar – Past Perfect Tense

Oh, past perfect is here! Do not fear: Arsenio is here!  Honestly, this is just like the present perfect — it’s just you have an action happening before another action.  Here’s the breakdown for you guys.

Look at the sentences.  Which actions happened first?

  1. John was angry at Tim because he had gotten to the theme park before him.
  2. When Stacy had finished talking, she went home.

Rules: We use the past perfect to talk about an activity in the past that happened before another activity in the past.

So, let’s break this down even more.

  1. I put my pyjamas on.
  2. He finished shopping.
  3. They finished their dinner.
  4. He got out of the pool.
  5. We finished the exam.
  6. I found my keys.
  • They left the restaurant.
  • I got into bed.
  • I opened the door.
  • He carried it home.
  • We gave it to the teacher.
  • He dried himself with a towel.


Rewrite the sentences in 3a as one sentence.  Put one verb in the past perfect and the other in the past simple. Use when or after.

  1. When I had put my pyjamas on, I got into bed.
  2. After he had finished shopping, he carried it home.

Now it’s your turn!



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