English Grammar Exercises for A2 – Past perfect

1. Read the example of the past perfect. Then look at the timeline and answer the question below.


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2. Complete the sentences with the past perfect form of the verbs in brackets.

1) Tom ____________ (take) his bike apart and was trying to fix it.

2) She took out a letter which she ____________ (keep) in a drawer for years.

3) When I clicked ‘buy’, the price ____________ (increase).

4) I was cross when the computer suddenly switched off, because I ____________ (not save) document.

5) He couldn’t move back to London because he ____________ (sell) his flat there.

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1) had taken   2) had kept   3) had increased

4) hadn’t saved   5) had sold

3. Complete the text with the past perfect form of the verbs in brackets.


A family in Wales has tried, without success, to get their hands on £5,000 which belongs to them. Six months ago, Richard Williams found a note inside a book. It was from his father, Allan Jones, who 1) _____. (die) two years earlier. The note told Richard about a metal box with £5,000 inside – money that his father 2) _____. (save up) during his lifetime. Before he died, his father 3) _____. (bury) the box in the garden, near the house. Then he 4) _____. (write) a note for the family. He 5) _____. (draw) a small map too, showing the exact location of the money.

Unfortunately, since Allan’s death, the Williams family 6) _____. (do) some building work. They 7) _____. (add) two rooms to the back of house – directly on top of the buried money! ‘If we tried to get the money now, we’d cause too much damage. It would cost more than £5,000 to repair it,’ says Richard, who 8) _____. (not know) anything about his father’s money until he found the note.

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1) had died   2) had saved up   3) had buried

4) had written   5) had drawn   6) had done

7) had added   8) hadn’t known

4. Rewrite the following sentences using one past perfect verb and one past simple verb.

1) I bought a ticket, then I checked the numbers.

  After I’d bought a ticket, I checked the numbers.

2) We bought some chicken, then we made dinner.

  When ________.

3) parents went out, then I got home.

  When ________.

4) The sun came out, then we arrived at the beach.

   After ________.

5) I took bike apart, then I cleaned every piece.

   After ________.

6) It got dark, then we arrived at the hotel.

   When ________.

7) I spoke to dad, then I applied for the job.

   After ________.

8) She read the letter, then she began to laugh.

     When ________.

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2) When we’d bought some chicken, we made dinner.

3) When I got home, parents had gone out. / After parents had gone out, I got home.

4) After the sun had come out, we arrived at the beach. / When we arrived at the beach, the sun had come out.

5) After I had taken bike apart, I cleaned every piece.

6) When we arrived at the hotel, it had got dark. / After it had got dark, we arrived at the hotel.

7) After I had spoken to dad, I applied for the job.

8) When she had read the letter, she began to laugh.

5. Look at the updates showing what Callum did yesterday. Then write more sentences like the example. Use the past perfect and the past simple.


1) get up / have breakfast

 After he’d got up, he had breakfast.

2) have breakfast / go shopping


3) buy a skateboard / meet friends for lunch


4) finish his homework / practise the guitar


5) have dinner / watch a DVD


6) read a magazine / go to bed


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2) After he’d had breakfast, he went shopping.

3) After he’d bought a skateboard, he met friends for lunch.

4) After he’d finished his homework, he practised the guitar.

5) After he’d had dinner, he watched a DVD.

6) After he’d read a magazine, he went to bed.

6. Complete the article with the past perfect form of the verbs in brackets.

Lisa Lewin 1) _____. (imagine) opening her own design shop many times before she finally did it. The result of her dream is Designs. The building 2) _____. (be) a dance studio before she bought it six months ago. ‘They 3) _____. (not do) anything to look after the building,’ Lisa says, ‘so getting ready for opening day took a long time.’ But last Friday, all the hard work she 4) _____. (do) finally paid off. Hundreds of people came to the opening, and many said that they 5) _____. (not hear) of Lisa before. ‘I 6) _____. (think) a design shop would look great on the High Street,’ one shopper said. ‘And then I came in and was very impressed!’

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1) had imagined   2) had been   3) hadn’t done

4) had done   5) hadn’t heard   6) thought

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