Sarah Schul Sarah Schul

Past Perfect Demo
Pre/Intermediate level


The goal of this lesson is to introduce students to the past perfect simple to talk about something that happened in the past, and to refer to something else that happened before that time.


Abc Scenarios
Abc Irregular Verb Forms List
Abc Form Handout

Main Aims

  • To provide clarification of the past perfect tense in the context of recent events.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To transform simple past sentences into past perfect
  • To provide practice of the past perfect tense in the context of recent events
  • To provide accuracy speaking practice in a conversation in the context of recent events
  • To provide clarification of the past perfect tense in question and negative form


Warmer/Lead-in (3-5 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

T asks Sts to discuss in groups: What things have you done recently? Have they taken trips or seen certain movies? T elicits examples from class, making a list of activities they have done using the simple past and time references on WB.

Exposure (8-10 minutes) • To provide context for the target language through a text or situation

T models how to create a past perfect sentence using the examples: first creating 2 simple past phrases with time markers, then combining them with past perfect simple. (ie. First, I moved to New York then Hannah started college. --> I had moved to New York before Hannah started college.) Sts take turns telling the class something they completed before one of the listed events. They should use the past perfect for their own event, and a subordinate clause starting with ‘before’ for the event in the simple past. For example, ‘I had seen the movie before you finished the book’. CCQs: T will periodically check concept comprehension by asking which event happened first, which second.

Highlighting (2-4 minutes) • To draw students' attention to the target language

T to confirm understanding of past perfect by highlighting grammar usage on a timeline: Moved to NY Started college ________X________X________________________________ Past Present Future If further clarification is needed, Sts take turns creating timelines on WB with their own sentences.

Clarification (8-10 minutes) • To clarify the meaning, form and pronunciation of the target language

T to write form on WB: Subject + Had + V3 T to hand out Form worksheet. WC read through HO and take turns filling in the blank.

Controlled Practice (8-10 minutes) • To concept check and prepare students for more meaningful practice

Using the same events from the first activity, Sts rewrite their sentences using a subordinate clause starting with after. (Ie. Hannah started college after I had moved to NY.) (reversing their previous sentences). Sts check with a partner before T elicits examples and questions (targeting any problem areas).

Semi-Controlled Practice (8-10 minutes) • To concept check further and prepare students for free practice

Sts discuss in small groups if they have done all of the things mentioned. (Ie. I never traveled to Seattle. I never learned to drive a car.) Is there anything they had never done before they moved to the US or before they started traveling? T will model response with the negative form on WB: I had never been eaten a bagel before I moved to NY. Sts will work in small groups/pairs to write as many sentences as they can using this model before sharing with the class.

Free Practice (8-10 minutes) • To provide students with free practice of the target language

T models how to pick a card and reads the sentence aloud to the class. T writes model sentence on WB: "__(situation)__ because _____ had _____ Sts, in turn, will pick a "situation" card from a facedown pile and read the sentence aloud to the rest of the group, e.g. 'I slept in my car all night'. The other students have to each come up with an explanation for the situation using the past perfect, e.g. 'I slept in my car all night, because the car had broken down and I was miles from home'. Each explanation the students give must be different. Students receive one point for each believable explanation they can come up with. Then the next student picks up a card and so on. This continues until all the cards have been used. The student with the highest number of points at the end of the game wins. (

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