How to Use the Past Perfect Simple

by , under Grammar

Download a lesson on the past perfect for Business English. You are free to photocopy it for classroom purposes.

When we talk about a past event that happened before another past event, we use the Past Perfect Simple. Use the Past Perfect Simple when you name a later event before an earlier event.

Key phrases: by the time Julie arrived at work, by the end of the day, by the end of last week, etc.


I broke a heel and a taxi splashed me. Then, I arrived at work.

By the time I arrived at work, I had broken a heel and a taxi had splashed me.


Subject + had + Past Participle



Julie had a difficult commute

This is how Julie described her commute

This is what Julie’s colleague said

Fill in the blanks with other things Julie’s colleague said

Here are some verbs to help you