Questions about Past Perfect tense

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

10
votes
7answers
21k views

What does “had had” mean? How does this differ from “had”?

For example, what is the difference between the following two sentences: I had a bad day I had had a bad day
10
votes
2answers
9k views

Why do people sometimes use the past perfect form of a verb when the past would suffice? (e.g. “you had mentioned”)

I noticed that my American friends tend to use the past perfect form when they use the verb mention in its past form, almost despite of the context of the sentence. I hear them say "you had ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Speculative conditional: Why does it use the past tense or past perfect tense?

We use simple past to state a hypothetical present situation that we would like to speculate about (If they were here, I would be happy), past perfect for a hypothetical past (had they been here, I ...
2
votes
1answer
42k views

where should we use has/have been and had been?

Where should we use "has/have been" and "had been"? What is the difference between them?
5
votes
4answers
186 views

Can I separate events with period to form past perfect?

Can I say the following? The doorbell rang. He had finished his meal. I know I could join the sentences into one sentence to get the same meaning. I want to know if this would be correct if I ...
3
votes
3answers
6k views

“Would have had to have been” vs “would have had to be” for past event conditions

I instinctively said I would have had to have been over 180 lbs for that to have happened. I thought that seemed overly wordy. Too many "have"s and "had"s. So I tried: I would have had to be ...
0
votes
1answer
5k views

When to use 'had been' + past participle of the verb

I read the sentence below in a news article: "The couple had been engaged since the summer," her spokeswoman said in a statement. Why was "had been engaged" used in this sentence. Is it wrong to ...
0
votes
2answers
133 views

Is past perfect necessary in the following

I read the following on abcnews, but couldn't convince myself to accept the past perfect form the sentence. What is the action before which the 'had mailed' part has occurred and completed? And why ...
5
votes
4answers
301 views

“I left before they had decided what to do” Why is 'decided' in the past perfect?

I left before they had decided what to do. Is this because this is a past version of "I leave before they have decided what to do"? Because "left" doesn't come before "decided".
8
votes
3answers
455 views

What difference does using 'had' make to those two verb tenses, and if so, what is it?

What is the difference between if I had studied and if I studied? Can you provide an example of when one usage would be more appropriate than the other?
2
votes
6answers
264 views

“Didn't want to do X until Y happened” vs. “hadn't wanted to do X until Y happened”

Which answer is correct? Tony _______to have children until his little daughter was born. After she won his heart, he decided he wanted a big family. A. didn't want. B. hadn't wanted. ...
2
votes
2answers
578 views

Past perfect sentence in “I would have killed the snake if I had hit him…”

Is the following a correct past perfect sentence? I would have killed the snake if I had hit him hard with a stick.
2
votes
2answers
880 views

Should the past perfect be eschewed?

The past perfect serves a purpose: When describing things that happened in the past, it allows us to discuss things that happened before (i.e., in the past’s past). However, a procession of had, had, ...
9
votes
1answer
799 views

“You were already having been going to do that!”

From one of the Futurama episodes: Farnsworth A: You people and your slight differences disgust me. I'm going home. Where's that blue box with our universe in it? Farnsworth 1: Oh, ...
8
votes
6answers
6k views

Is this correct: “I'd have to have had…”

This sentence makes my head hurt a bit, and it doesn't seem right, but perhaps you guys could help me sort it out. "If I would've gone to Canada, I'd have to have had some kind of winter gear."
2
votes
2answers
4k views

“Until” and past perfect

Having seen one sentence in "Practical English Usage" by M.Swan (a very popular grammar book), I was really puzzled. I waited until the rain had stopped. The past perfect is generally used to ...
1
vote
3answers
574 views

Past perfect or past simple in combination with present perfect?

Suppose I received a document from my colleague, studied it and then gave him feedback in a letter. How should I construct the following sentense? I have examined the document you gave me and... ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Verb Forms and Their Usage

What is meant by "present perfect", "past perfect", and "future perfect" verbs? How can I identify them or know which is which?
0
votes
2answers
104k views

When do we use “had had” and “have had”? [duplicate]

I have seen several sentences in English where some writers have written had twice in a row. I am a bit confused about when the grammar calls for using had had. For example: I had had my car ...
0
votes
2answers
697 views

“Had been engaged when they married” vs. “were married” vs. “had married”

Which of the sentences below are grammatically correct? The couple had been engaged for five years when they married. The couple had been engaged for five years when they were married. The ...
-1
votes
3answers
17k views

“I met” vs “I've met” [closed]

What's the difference between the following? I met him in the UK. I've met him in the UK. Does the second sentence mean that the event was happened recently?