Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Possible Duplicate:
How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another?

I have a difficult time to understand perfect tense.

I don't see the different for the following two sentences.

1) He kicked the ball.

2) He had kicked the ball.

Is perfect tense used to tell is an action completed or not?

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by MετάEd, Matt Эллен, Zairja, Mr. Shiny and New 安宇, Mark Beadles Nov 20 '12 at 16:21

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

add comment

1 Answer 1

The first uses the past tense. This typically describes an event that occurred at a particular time in the past and is complete at the time of speaking.

The second uses the past perfect construction. This normally describes a past event that occurred before another.

The present perfect construction would be He has kicked the ball. This is often used to describe a past event that has current relevance.

share|improve this answer
1  
So when we should use perfect tense? Is there any general guideline to use perfect tense correctly? –  user1187968 Nov 19 '12 at 21:57
1  
This is too big a topic to discuss here in any detail. You may like to consult a qualified English teacher or a grammar book for foreign learners of English. –  Barrie England Nov 19 '12 at 22:00
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.