Past Perfect Tense with Question Words

You will learn how to formulate questions about events that happened a long time ago.


Past Perfect Tense with Question Words

Government of Canada

Instructions: Read the text. Look at the words in bold.

What had you read about the Government of Canada before you come to class?

Well, Canada has a parliamentary system within the context of a constitutional monarchy, the monarchy of Canada being the foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II, who is also monarch of 15 other Commonwealth countries and each of Canada’s 10 provinces. As such, the Queen’s representative, the Governor General of Canada , carries out most of the federal royal duties in Canada.

Canada. Retrieved and adapted January, 2017 from

Getting started: The House of Commons

Instructions: Read the following information to do the activity suggested.

The direct participation of the royal and viceroyal figures in areas of governance is limited. In practice, their use of the executive powers is directed by the Cabinet, a committee of ministers of the Crown responsible to the elected House of Commons and chosen and headed by the Prime Minister of Canada , the head of government. The governor general or monarch may, though, in certain crisis situations exercise their power without ministerial advice. To ensure the stability of government, the governor general will usually appoint as prime minister the person who is the current leader of the political party that can obtain the confidence of plurality in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister’s Office is thus one of the most powerful institutions in government, initiating most legislation for parliamentary approval and selecting for appointment by the Crown, besides the aforementioned, the governor general, liutenant governors, senators, federal court judges, and heads of Crown corporations and government agencies. The leader of the party with the second-most seats usually becomes the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, and is part of and adversarial parliamentary system intended to keep the government in check.

Canada. Retrieved and adapted January, 2017 from

The governor general

Instructions: Match the questions and the answers.

He had exrcised the power without miniterial adviceIn areas of governanceThe Cabinet

1. In which areas had the royal and viceroyal figures been limited in the past? _______________.

2. Who had directed the royal and viceroyal executive powers before 2016? _______________.

3. What had the governor general done in certain crisis situations? _______________.


Let’s find out how to ask in Past Perfect with Question Words.

Instructions: Look at the way we ask in Past Perfect with Question Words.

Remember: We use the Past Perfect tense to make it clear that one action happened before another in the past.


  • I had phoned you before you came to see me.
  • Joe had asked Jane to get married before she went away.


Look at the word order in the Question form:

Past PerfectSimple Past
Question WordsAuxiliary HadSubjectVerb in Past ParticipleComplement.BeforeSubjectVerb in Simple PastComplement?
Wherehadyoubeen beforeIgothome?
WhohadMarycalled beforeDavidcamehome?
WhathadJohnwritten beforeSusancalledhim?
Whyhadthe boysdonetheir homeworkbeforetheir mothertoldthem to do it?


We can also start using When:

Simple PastPast Perfect
WhenSubjectVerb in Past ParticipleComplementQuestion wordAuxiliary HadSubjectVerb in Past ParticipleComplement?
Whentheir mothertoldthe boys to do their homeworkwhyhadtheydoneit?


Now, look at the specific answers:

  • At the cinema.
  • Me.
  • A letter.
  • They wanted to play.




Instructions: Drag and drop the following Question Words into the following sentences:

WhoseWhatHow manyHow long Who

1. ___________ had been elected by simple plurality in the past?

2. ___________ had an election been held before 2016?

3. ___________ had been the limit age to serve until 2000?

4. ___________ seats had been apportioned on a regional basis?

5. ___________ parties had elected representatives to the federal parliament before last year?


Canada’s federal structure

Instructions: Make questions with the following prompts:

  1. What / be / the government responsabilities / before last year? ?
  2. Which Provincial legislatures / be / unicameral until 2010? ?
  3. Which Provincial legislatures / operate / in parliamentary fashion before 2014? ?
  4. How many territories / have / legislatures until last year? ?
  5. What / be / the responsabilities for the Provinces 10 years from now? ?
done Check


Canadian banks

Instructions: Choose the right options for the following questions:

  1. Which / What bank had been the central bank of the country before now?
  2. Who / Whose had utilized the Statics Canada agency for economic policy?
  3. Which / How bank had been the sole authority authorized to issue currency before last year?
  4. How long / How had the Minister of Finance utilized the Statistics Canada agency?
  5. When / Where had Canadian coins been issued by the Royal Canadian Mint?
done Check