ANSWER KEY FOR THE  PAST PERFECT TENSE

The PAST PERFECT tense makes use of the past tense form of TO HAVE which is HAD.  The past perfect tense is used to show THE EARLIER OF TWO EVENTS THAT have occurred in the past.  The verb that occurred *further back in time* is the one in the past perfect, and the verbs that refers to the event closer to the present is expressed in the simple past.   Use of the perfect past tense correctly and easily shows a sophisticated understanding of time relationships and a mastery of educated English.
 
 

For the sentences that follow, the verbs have been placed in the appropriate spots in the diagrams.  The word “had” has been placed wherever it is needed in the sentences.  Also, the appropriate participle has been underlined.
 

1)There ____ (been,were) many stories of a banshee that had haunted the Victorian farm house.

                  -2                  -1                  Now
Past<-------/------------------/------------------/--------->Future
        had haunted            were
     past perfect           simple past
 

2)The banshee had frightened the previous owner to death.

                -2                    -1                    Now
Past<-------/------------------/------------------/--------->Future
        had frightened
         past perfect           simple past

Even though this sentence is a simple sentence, it still uses the perfect past tense because the sentence is part of a paragraph, a story that is in the perfect past.  The meaning is that the scaring to death of the previous owner occurred before the scaring of the new owner.
 

3) The new owner  had not believed in ghosts before he _____bought the house.
                -2                     -1                  Now
Past<-------/------------------/------------------/--------->Future
        had believed            bought
         past perfect           simple past
 

4)The owner had invited many guests to stay before he (known, knew) about the ghost.
                -2                     -1                  Now
Past<-------/------------------/------------------/--------->Future

          had invited            knew
         past perfect           simple past
 

5)The guests and he  had (saw, seen) the banshee before the night_____ (was, been) over.

                -2                      -1                  Now
Past<-------/------------------/------------------/--------->Future

         had seen                was
         past perfect           simple past
 

6)After the banshee had shrieked, the guests ____cowered together in the kitchen.

                -2                      -1                  Now
Past<-------/------------------/------------------/--------->Future

        had shrieked            cowered
         past perfect           simple past
 

7)The guests ____ (ran, run) screaming outside after pots and pans had (flown, flew) in the air by themselves.

                -2                      -1                  Now
Past<-------/------------------/------------------/--------->Future

          had flown                  ran
         past perfect           simple past
 

8)The owner had (hidden, hid) in the closet with the phone and ____called some scientists for help.

                -2                     -1                  Now
Past<-------/------------------/------------------/--------->Future

            had hidden            called
         past perfect           simple past
 

9)The ghost  had disappeared by the time the scientists _______ arrived.

                -2                      -1                  Now
Past<-------/------------------/------------------/--------->Future

        had disapeared        arrived
         past perfect           simple past
 
 

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copyright 2000 Cynthia Joyce Clay all rights reserved