The key difference between past perfect and past participle is that past perfect is a tense, whereas past participle is a verb form.
Past perfect is used when indicating actions that happened before a particular time in the past. We mainly use past perfect to indicate that one action happened before the other. A past participle is a verb form, and it is used in the past perfect tense as well.
What is Past Perfect?
Past perfect is a tense that is used to indicate actions that were completed before some point in the past. Usually, this is from two events in the past, one occurring before the other. We use it to describe that something happened before something else. It is not necessary to mention which event happened first since the tense itself mentions it. Past perfect is also called pluperfect.
Formation of Past Perfect
Subject + had + past participle + object
The past perfect tense is formed by using the auxiliary verb ‘had’ together with the ‘past participle of the given verb. The past participle form of a regular verb is just like a regular verb in the past simple.
The past perfect is used to refer to the action that happened first, and the past simple is used to refer to the action that happened later.
- He lost the game because he had not practised enough
First, he did not practice well; as a result, he lost the game
- After Ann had finished her homework, she went to tea
First, she finished her homework and then she went to have tea
More Example Sentences
- I had fallen asleep before 7’ o clock.
- By the time David got to the party, everyone had gone home.
- He stayed up all night because he had received bad news.
This formation does not change whether the subject is singular or plural. This tense is used to refer to some point in the past while referring to another action that happened even before. To indicate this sequence of events, we use the past perfect tense. In this way, the sentence becomes specific and clearer.
Usually, we use ‘after’, ‘as soon as’, ‘the moment that’, and ‘until’ before using the past perfect.
- After she had left, I found her notes
- He didn’t say anything until I had finished
We use ‘before’, ‘when’, and ‘by the time’ before the past simple.
- Before he knew it, she had run out of the house
- By the time he arrived, they had gone out
|Event A||Event B|
|Leon had studied French||before he moved to France|
What is Past Participle?
A past participle is a verb form. This is usually the third category in the table of irregular verbs. Past participle verbs are used in passive voice, perfect tenses and also as adjectives.
Formation of Past Participle
Regular verbs – addition of –ed
Irregular verbs- varies
|Infinitive||Past simple||Past participle|
Examples for Perfect Tenses
- the present perfect – I have met Sofia before.
- the past perfect – I had already watched the movie
- the future perfect – I will have written the letter by noon
- the third conditional – If the bus had arrived on time, I wouldn’t have been late.
- modals in the past – He could have studied more.
- the passive form – The computer was invented by Charles Babbage
There are some adjectives in English that are made from the past participle form of the verb. Here, the past participle becomes a word that describes a noun (an object or a person)
Examples for Adjectives
- interested – She was interested in the TV show
- broken – This mobile phone is broken
- tired – I was tired after the seminar
- motivated – The undergraduates are motivated to study hard
What is the Difference Between Past Perfect and Past Participle?
The key difference between past perfect and past participle is that past perfect is a tense while past participle is a verb form. In fact, we use the past participle verb form to form past perfect tense.
The following table summarizes the difference between past perfect and past participle.
Summary – Past Perfect vs Past Participle
Past perfect is a tense which is used to indicate actions that were completed before some point in the past. We mainly use past perfect to indicate that one action happened before the other. It is formed by adding ‘had’ and the past participle form of the given verb to the subject. A past participle is a verb form. While forming this verb, regular verbs add –ed while irregular verbs vary. Thus, this is the key difference between past perfect and past participle.