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A. Use:

The Past Perfect tense is used to refer to a non-continuous action in the past, which was already completed by the time another action in the past took place. Notice that Simple past and Past perfect are generally used together with conjuctions like when, after, before and until. The Past perfect refers to the first action and Simple past to the second action.

--> She had heard the news before I saw her.
--> I had finished my work by the time the clock struck twelve.

In the preceding examples, the verbs had heard and had finished are in the Past Perfect tense, and the verbs saw and struck are in the Simple Past. The use of the Past Perfect tense indicates that the actions of hearing the news and finishing the work were already completed by the time the actions expressed by the verbs in the Simple Past took place.

b. Formation:

The Past Perfect tense is formed from the Simple Past of the auxiliary to have, followed by the past participle of the verb.

The Simple Past of to have is had. In spoken English, the auxiliary had is often contracted to 'd. For example, the Past Perfect of the verb to work is conjugated as follows:

Without Contractions With Contractions
  I had worked   I'd worked
  you had worked   you'd worked
  he had worked   he'd worked
  she had worked   she'd worked
  it had worked   it'd worked
  we had worked   we'd worked
  they had worked   they'd worked

The contraction it'd is less frequently used than the other contractions, since it is more difficult to pronounce.

c. Questions and negative statements:

As is the case with other English tenses, questions and negative statements in the Past Perfect tense are formed using the auxiliary.

Questions are formed by placing the auxiliary before the subject. For example:

Affirmative Statement Question
  I had worked.   Had I worked?
  They had worked.   Had they worked?

Negative statements are formed by placing the word not after the auxiliary. For example:

Affirmative Statement Negative Statement
  I had worked.   I had not worked.
  They had worked.   They had not worked.

In spoken English, the following contraction is often used:

Without Contraction With Contraction
  had not   hadn't

Negative questions are formed by placing the auxiliary before the subject, and the word not after the subject. However, when contractions are used, the contracted form of not follows immediately after the auxiliary. For example:

Without Contraction With Contraction
  Had I not worked?   Hadn't I worked?
  Had they not worked?   Hadn't they worked?

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