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Notes on past perfect tenses

A past perfect verb always includes:
had (for singular or plural) + a past participle
Examples
  • They announced that he had resigned for personal reasons.
  • He reported that productivity had declined.
A past perfect continuous verb includes:
had (for singular or plural) + been + an -ing verb
Example
  • When he took over, productivity had been declining for two years.
A past perfect passive verb includes:
had (for singular or plural) + been + a past participle
Example
  • The new software had been purchased before his arrival.
Note:
The past simple tense is used when events are described in the order in which they occurred.
Example
  • In March 2005 she started a management course at Monash University. Three months later she found a part-time job.
Note:
The past perfect tense is used when, in describing the past, we briefly refer to an even earlier event
Example
  • When she began her part-time job in June 2005 she had already started a management course at Monash University.
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