Past Perfect Tense: Grammar Exercises

We use Past Perfect Tense to express that an action or actions happened before something else happened.

  • I had eaten dinner before they came.
  • Tilly had seen that film before it was on TV.

Level A2/B1

Have practice in using the Past Perfect Tense

Task 1. Past Simple or Past Perfect Tense. Fill in the correct form.

  1. Mary ___________________ (give) me Tony’s address before she left.
  2. When the boys arrived at the cinema, the film ___________________ (already, start).
  3. Before we reached the station we saw that we ___________________ (lose) our way.
  4. All the tickets ___________________ (be) sold before the concert began.
  5. They took a shower after they ___________________ (finish) the game.
  6. I asked Mr Green how many books he ___________________ (read)
  7. Mum asked me why I ___________________ (not tidy) up my room.
  8. Bob was sorry that he ___________________ (told) me the story.
  9. Alan watched TV after he ___________________ (have) lunch.
  10. The sun ___________________ (shine) yesterday after it ___________________ (be) cold for many weeks.
  11. Uncle David ___________________ (go) to the doctor after he ___________________ (be) ill for a month.
  12. Before the police ___________________ (catch) the thief, he ___________________ (steal) two more watches.
  13. Mum once ___________________ (paint) a picture although she ___________________ (never, learn) it.
  14. I ___________________ (not tell) my teacher that my mum ___________________ (help) me with my homework.
  15. I ___________________ (be) very angry when I ___________________ (see) that my brother ___________________ (eat) my apple.
  16. The bike ___________________ (be) much more expensive than he ___________________ (think) at first.
  17. Dad ___________________ (drive) me home after I ___________________ (fall) into the water.
  18. Marion ___________________ (ask) me what ___________________ (happen) to me last week.
  19. We ___________________ (eat) two Big Macs before we ___________________ (go) home.
  20. Paul ___________________ (not say) that he ___________________ (take) Albert’s watch.
  21. The days ___________________ (become) colder after it ___________________ (snow).
  22. Martin ___________________ (tell) me that he ___________________ (be) in London.
  23. I ___________________ (feel) great after I ___________________ (pass) the exam.
  24. It ___________________ (be) Freddy who ___________________ (clean) the room.
  25. When I ___________________ (get) off the bike I ___________________ (see) that one of those tires ___________________ (lose) air.
  26. I ___________________ (be) sorry that I ___________________ (not be) nicer to him.
  27. Nobody ___________________ (come) to the meeting because Angela ___________________ (forget) to tell them about it.
  28. I know that I ___________________ (see) her somewhere before.
  29. Because she ___________________ (not check) the oil for so long, the car ___________________ (break) down.
  30. She couldn’t find the book that I ___________________ (lend) her.
  31. They never ___________________ (never find) where he ___________________ (hide) the money.
  32. It was a firm that I ___________________ (never hear) of.
  33. When she ___________________ (come ) in we all knew where she ___________________ (be)
  34. The lesson ___________________ (already start) when I ___________________ (arrive).
  35. When I ___________________ (get) to the park I found out that I ___________________ (lose) my keys.
  36. She told me that she ___________________ (work) in Germany.
  37. When he ___________________ (paint) the kitchen he ___________________ (decide) to have a rest.
  38. After I ___________________ (finish) the report, I saw that it ___________________ (be) too late.

Task 2. Join the sentences with the words in brackets.

Example: They graduated. They got married. (as soon as) – They got married as soon as they had graduated.

  1. They entered the restaurant. They were served. (after)
  2. I didn’t use my credit card. I lost it. (because)
  3. They didn’t tell me. Easyjet cancelled the flight. (that)
  4. I couldn’t go out. I broke my leg. (because)
  5. He took up a job. He left school. (as soon as)
  6. Susan fell in love with Jack. She told her parents. (after)
  7. I was in Paris for a week. I met Ann there. (when)
  8. Jim called Jane from his office. He came back home. (before)
  9. Maria finished the meal. And I arrived. (by the time)
  10. Messi scored the goal. The fans went wild. (as soon as)

Task 3. Complete the sentences with the words in brackets Use the correct tense of the verb.

  1. He couldn’t go skiing, because he ____________ ill the night before. (fall)
  2. ____________ off the lights before you left home? (you, switch)
  3. The plane crashed because the engines ____________ fire. (catch)
  4. After Sam ____________ the bank, he got into his car. (leave)
  5. When he arrived at the office, everyone ____________ gone. (be)
  6. ____________ anything to eat before you fed him? (the dog, have)
  7. By the time Joseph returned home Sarah ____________ to get in touch with him several times. (try)
  8. Why ____________ me before you refused their offer? (you, call)

Task 4. Write about Betty using the Past Perfect Tense.

What had Betty done (not done) before she went to bed?

Example: + cook dinner        – go out with her friends 
She had cooked dinner. She hadn’t gone out with her friends.

+ wash the dishes    – dry the dishes
+ walk her dog    – feed her cat
+ watch a video    – listen to music
+ have a shower    – wash her hair
+ say good night to her mum    – set her alarm clock

Task 5. Respond to the following situations. 

Example: I didn’t clean my teeth after breakfast. – Why not? Had you done it before breakfast?

  1. I didn’t watch the film. (you | see | it | before) – Why? _____________________?
  2. I wasn’t surprised by the birthday present. (you | already | know | about | it) – Really?  _____________________?
  3. I didn’t know how to withraw money from the cash machine. (you | not do | it | before) – What a shame!  __________________?
  4. I got to the airport on time, but I missed my plane. (you | leave | your ticket | at home) – How come?  _____________________?
  5. I didn’t have to do my English homework at home. (you | write | it | at school) – Why not?  _____________________?
  6. I was so sick when I went to bed! (what | you | eat | before that) –  _____________________?
  7. I got lost on my way to your place. (Sharon | not tell | you | the way) – That’s a pity.  _____________________?
  8. I saw Jane for the first time at your party last Saturday. (you | not meet | Jane | at my previous party) – Are you sure?  _________?

Task 6. Use the verbs in brackets in the correct tense form.

  1. A: __________ Jim ever (fly) ______________ before his flight last week? B: Yes, he __________.
  2. A: __________ your sister (eat) _________________ breakfast before she left? B: No, she __________.
  3. James said he ___________ already (see) _________________ the movie last year.
  4. I got lost because I (forget) __________ _________________ to bring a map.
  5. They (not study) __________ _________________ English before last year.
  6. She (live) __________ _________________ in Leeds before she moved to London.
  7. The baby (fall asleep) __________ _________________ before eight o’clock.
  8. I (not think) __________ _________________ of that question before.
  9. Sue got wet because she (not bring) __________ _________________ an umbrella.
  10. He (own) ___________ _________________ his car for a year before he sold it.
  11. I didn’t notice that the traffic light (turn) __________ _________________ red.
  12. He (order) __________ _________________ rice, but the waiter served him soup.

Task 7. Supply a suitable Simple Past or Past Perfect Tense.

  1. My mother _____________________ (worry) a lot about me before she _____________________ (hear) that I was safe with my friends.
  2. I didn’t like Romania; It _____________________ (be) much smaller than I _____________________ (expect).
  3. By the time the firefighters ____________________(arrive) the building __________________(already / burn) down.
  4. They _____________________ (go) to the cinema after they _____________________ (finish) their dinner.
  5. She ______________ just _____________ (enter) the room when the door _____________________ (open) and Jason _____________________ (enter).
  6. His mother wanted to know why he _____________________ (not / study) his lessons the previous day.
  7. After he _____________________ (work) for the software company for two years he _____________________ (decide) to give it up.
  8. When I _____________________ (arrive) at the station the train _____________ already _____________(leave)

Task 8. Past Simple or Past Perfect? Read the sentences carefully and circle the correct options.

  1. The robbers left / had left the bank when the policemen finally arrived / had arrived.
  2. When the rain started / had started, the Atkinsons finished / had finished planting trees.
  3. By the time Rebecca went / had gone into the store , she got / had got soaked.
  4. Darcey saw / had seen this castle before she came / had come again last Sunday.
  5. Mr.Palmer didn’t speak / hadn’t spoken any Chinese before he moved / had moved to Peking.
  6. Sonny got / had got fainted by the time the ambulance reached / had reached the hospital.
  7. When my mother brought / had brought me an apple, I finished / had finished my homework.
  8. Mrs.Wilkinson refused / had refused to drive the car because she had / had had a terrible accident on the highway about a year ago.
  9. I didn’t think / hadn’t thought of having a new house before I saw / had seen that ad on TV.
  10. My uncle didn’t try / hadn’t tried Italian food before went / had gone to that restaurant.

Task 9. Fill in the blanks with the correct forms of the verbs in brackets. Use Past Perfect.

  1. They ________ (finish) answering the questions before the bell rang.
  2. When Matthew arrived at home, his wife ________ (cook) the meal.
  3. Mrs.Lawrence ________ (open) the window before she went to bed.
  4. Before Darcy entered this competition she ________ (practise) for two months.
  5. Dexter ________ (not see) a skeleton before he visited the museum with his friends.
  6. When the earthquake happened, we ________ (not finish) our work at the office.
  7. Simon ________ (take) a shower before the guests arrived for the party.
  8. The thief ________ (jump) out of the window by the time I opened the door.
  9. I ________ (not watch) a horror film before we went to the cinema last Wednesday.
  10. Mrs. Reid ________ (work) for the company for 30 years when she got retired last year.