Past Simple and Past Perfect are both used to talk about actions in the past. While they do not always appear together, they are often used to describe two things that happened in the past, one of which happened before the other.
In other words, I ate breakfast, then you arrived. The action that happened first, or further in the past, will be in the Past Perfect tense (had + past participle) and is often (but not always) accompanied by: already, yet, just and even.
Let’s examine parts of this short story to see how they work together.
- I had looked at twenty or more spaces in the last month but none of them were quite right.
- By the time I had arrived to the top of the stairs, I knew this was it.
- His negative comments were not, however, going to change my mind. I had made my decision.
Now see if you can complete these sentences with the correct form of the verb.
- I _______________(be) in the corner room, alone and standing on a chair in order to reach the cobwebs in the big stained glass windows when I ____________(hear) a noise.
- Maybe he ___________ (be) right. Maybe I ____________(be) working too hard.
- My husband ___________ (chose) the corner classroom and was in the middle of giving class when he ____________ (see) bright white light flash across the blackboard.
- Without turning around, he ____________ (continue) writing, thinking his student __________ (take) a picture rather than copy the notes.
- They ___________ (search) the room for explanations. The windows and doors ________ (be) shut to keep the cold out.
- With little exchange they both acknowledged that class ________ (end).