the past perfect - definition and synonyms

noun linguistics 

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  1. the past perfect simple and the past perfect continuous are the tenses used to talk about actions, behaviour, or situations that began at a particular time in the past and were either complete or still continuing at that time. The past perfect simple consists of ‘had’ and a past participle, for example the verb group ‘had reached’ in the sentence ‘By 1901 the population of London had reached over six-and-a-half million’. The past perfect continuous consists of a form of ‘had’ followed by ‘been’ and a past participle, for example ‘had been planning' in the sentence ‘By February, he had been planning the event for seven months’.