Difference Between Past Participle and Past Perfect

Main Difference – Past Participle vs Past Perfect

The past perfect tense is used to indicate an action that happened in the past before another action happened. This compound tense is formed by adding the past participle to the auxiliary verb had. The main difference between past participle and past perfect is that past participle is a verb form whereas past perfect is a tense. It is not possible to form a past perfect tense sentence without using a past participle.

In this article, we’ll look at,

1. What is Past Particle? – Grammar, Formation, Uses with Examples

2. What is Past Perfect? – Grammar, Formation, Uses with Examples

3. Difference Between Past Particle and Past Perfect

Difference Between Past Participle and Past Perfect- infographic

What is Past Participle

There are two kinds of participles in the English language,: present participles and past participles. Past participles, as its name suggests, indicates past or completed action or time.


The past participles of regular verbs are easy to form since they take the same form as their past form. For example,

Verb: talk

Past: talked

Past Participle: talked

However, the past participles of irregular verbs are different. English learners have to learn them by heart. The following chart shows the conjugation of some common irregular verbs.



        Past Participle

















Past participles have two uses: they can be used as adjectives or as parts of compound verbs.


Be careful; the glass is broken.

The abandoned house was rumored to be haunted.

He was interested in buying that house.

Compound Verbs:

Past participle can be used in several situations. It is used in the formation of present and past perfect tenses:

She had lived in France for 10 years.

He has already eaten his share.

Past participle can also be used in the past form of modal verbs:

I should have gone with him.

You could have cleaned the house.

Difference Between Past Participle and Past Perfect

Broken Glass

What is Past Perfect

Past perfect tense is used to indicate that an action that has started and finished in the past. It is formed by adding the past participle of the verb to the auxiliary verb (had).

Noun/Pronoun + Auxiliary Verb + Past Participle….

         He                         had                     died …..

The teacher had corrected her mistake.

The terrorists had killed many civilians .

Past perfect tense emphasizes that one action was finished before another took place.

For example,

I called my sister to tell her that I had passed the exam.

First: I passed the exam.

Next: I called my sister.

Her grandmother had died before the ambulance reached their house.

First: Her grandmother died.

 Next: Ambulance came.

This tense can also be used for things that were done several times in the past and continued to do after that point.

She had already eaten 10 bananas; she is eating her 11th.

Main Difference - Past Participle vs Past Perfect

She had finished the whole cake before he arrived.

Difference Between Past Participle and Past Perfect


Past Participle is a verb form.

Past Perfect is a tense.


Past Participle is used as an adjective and as a part of compound verbs. 

Past Perfect is formed by adding a past participle to the auxiliary verb.

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About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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