The past perfect tense is most often used for the following:
· In Reported Speech
For actions that happened before a past event
When we want to talk about an action that happened before a past event, we often use the past perfect. Look at these examples:
- When I got home yesterday, my father had already cooked dinner.
- I didn't want to go to the movies with my friends because I had seen the film already.
- My friend offered me an apple in class yesterday, but I wasn't hungry because I had just eaten lunch.
- I arrived very late at the party. All my friends had already gone home.
- As soon as she had done her homework, she went to bed.
- I was very tired as I hadn't slept well for several days.
- Had you seen the film before?
The past perfect is common when we report people's words or thoughts .., as in the following examples:
- John said that he had never eaten sushi before.
- She told me that she had finished, but I knew she had not.
- She wondered why he had been so unkind to her.
- He told me he hadn't done his homework, but he was hoping to finish it on the bus.
- I thought I had sent her a birthday card, but I was wrong.
The past perfect tense is used in unreal or hypothetical stituations, as in the following sentences:
- If I had known you were in Frankfurt, I would have called you. (but I didn't know you were here so I didn't call you!)
- If I had had enough money, I would have bought you a better present. (but I didn't have enough money.)
- I would have been very angy if you had laughed when I got the answer wrong. (but you didn't laugh, so I wasn't angry.)
- She wouldn't have been able to finish, if you hadn't helped her. (but you did help her and she did finish.)
- I wish I had studied for my exams. (but I didn't study - and I got bad grades!)
- I would have been in big trouble if you hadn't helped me. (but you did help me so I stayed out of trouble.)
Watch this video to understand it better: