Questions about Past Perfect tense

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10
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7answers
17k 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
8k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
734 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
3answers
440 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?
8
votes
6answers
5k 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."
8
votes
4answers
978 views

Usage of 'had been' or 'were'

I was doing an exercise. I completed the sentence as following. If you were my child, I would have demanded that such an irresponsible teacher be fired. But the answer given in the book is ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

“Would fly” versus “would have flown”

I am not a native speaker of English. Could anyone please tell me which sentence is correct? If I had money, I would fly to Spain. If I had money, I would have flown to Spain.
5
votes
4answers
222 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".
5
votes
4answers
180 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 ...
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
5k views

using had had in a sentence [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What does “had had” mean? How does this differ from “had”? I had had so many interruptions this morning that I scarcely had done any work or I ...
3
votes
3answers
403 views

Correct tense for events which happend long time ago but still have direct connection with present time

Suppose that a man disappeared twenty years ago and I haven't had a notice about him since then. What should I say to my interlocutor if I want to tell him about this story? You know, Harry has ...
3
votes
2answers
247 views

Perfect tenses in conditionals

Why does one sometimes use the perfect tense in conditions of the first type? Say, I will do something if you have done something. I did something when he had done something. instead of, ...
3
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
10k views

When should I choose “had come” over “came” in the following sentence?

Take for example: I met Raschel three years ago. He represented a small company of which he was also the proprietor. He came to show the presentation of his product plan. Many companies, ...
3
votes
5answers
186 views

Right tense for conditional event in nondescript time?

What is the right tense to describe an event that might have occured, be occuring or occur in the future, if (not) for something that happened in the past? Unike, in the examples, which anchor the ...
3
votes
3answers
92 views

Past Perfect - Right or Wrong?

I am in an English course, in Cambridge School, in Lisbon, Portugal, and I am learning Past Perfect. I am also in a Pastry course, and today we had our first English lesson. The teacher wrote some ...
3
votes
2answers
259 views

Adverbs + Present Perfect

Here's my problem: I've been confused about the placement of adverbs in present/past perfect phrases. For example, which sentence would sound better: "We had been slowly drifting down the river ...
3
votes
2answers
111 views

Should “If I ever had a philosophy” be in the past perfect?

Excerpted from The Hills of Triumph: If I ever had a philosophy with which to govern my social life, even long after learning that social is often at the detriment of personal, it would have been ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

“I had been typing” vs “I was typing” vs “I typed”

I read this on a another forum but couldn't figure out the logic behind the answers. He had been typing for three hours before he realised that he had typed the wrong documents. He had been ...
3
votes
1answer
52k views

“have been” versus “had been” in questions [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another? "I can tell that he's not English, but I wouldn't had been able to tell that he's french if you didn't ...
2
votes
4answers
312 views

“when I clicked on video file nothing has happened”

when I clicked on video file nothing has happened. Is that correct?
2
votes
3answers
3k views

past perfect + would have + ed-participle / past simple + would + infinitive

Could you clarify difference between sentences: If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses If I asked people what they wanted, they would say faster horses ...
2
votes
5answers
2k views

“I knew him for…” or “I had known him for…”?

I'm writing a short story, and I'm unsure about the right tense to use. The first two sentences are: I knew Mr. Brown for exactly 15 minutes. He had met me at the entrance and was now ...
2
votes
3answers
988 views

“I had thought there was” Vs. “I thought there was”

What's the difference between these sentences: I had thought there was something wrong with the tape recorder. I thought there was something wrong with the tape recorder. Would it be more ...
2
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
508 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
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2answers
256 views

Choosing Past Simple or Past Perfect: Do I need “had” here?

Do I need "had" here? If yes, do I need to change "did" to "done"? A: Lucy accidentally broke her mum’s favorite cup yesterday. B: Oh! I think her mom was really angry at her, right? A: ...
2
votes
2answers
310 views

Difference between “had [verb] not to” and “hadn't [verb] to”

When we talk about things that we intended to do, but didn't or will not do in the future, we can use past perfect. I did a question in a reference book: I hadn't intended to become a doctor, I ...
2
votes
3answers
547 views

Participle as verbal adjective

I came across the following: As he had been deceived by his friends he lost all hope. He was deceived by his friends and so he lost all hope. Deceived by his friends, he lost all hope. ...
2
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1answer
37k 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?
2
votes
2answers
743 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, ...
2
votes
1answer
437 views

Is past perfect tense a must when reporting 2 things happened at different time in the past?

Is the word "had" necessary in the following text? This is a retrospective study covering the period from 2001 to 2010. Prospectively collected data of 500 consecutive patients who (had) received ...
2
votes
4answers
265 views

Is “On January 17th our team had represented” correct English?

My team recently posted a status update, On January 17th, our team had represented [organization name] at [place]. Though I am unable to explain why (I have never formally learned tenses), I am ...
2
votes
2answers
453 views

Using modal verb 'could' for simple past

If I form a sentence like: I could read the book if I hadn't wasted my time. Would it be considered a past perfect sentence with the part I could read the book being in simple past for context ...
2
votes
2answers
435 views

Past perfect events timeline

In the following example: He had walked away when she looked at him. If it is correct then which event came first? "She looked at him" should come first before "He had walked away" but here to me, ...
2
votes
2answers
197 views

Past Perfect question forms with 'before' etc

A part of an entry about Past Perfect (424.1) in Swan's Practical English Usage 3rd Ed states that the past perfect is not necessary in the cases where we use conjunctions (e.g. after, as soon as) and ...
1
vote
3answers
19k views

“I had finished the work on friday” / “I have finished the work”

Every morning, I have to speak in English. Suppose that today is Monday. Do these two sentences convey the same meaning? On Friday, I had finished the work. "Had" is used here because it is ...
1
vote
3answers
8k views

“Get used” vs “got used”

I'm learning English grammar with the book by Raymond Murphy: English Grammar in Use [3rd Edition]. In the exercises for unit 61, I have to complete the sentences using used to. I can't understand why ...
1
vote
2answers
210 views

Why past perfect in the following?

The following is taken from a website. In the context below why the second part, "had signed", is in past perfect? ... The case was scheduled to be tried before the justice of the peace in the ...
1
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3answers
312 views

Past Simple and Past Perfect Simple with 'already'

Do these two sentences have the same meaning? When we arrived, David had already got home and When we arrived, David was already home
1
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5answers
12k views

Can I use “I have asked something”

I wonder whether “ask” can be used as verb in past or present perfect tense. I used “I have asked something from somebody” in email, but this sentence sounds a little weird to me. So I want to check ...
1
vote
4answers
53 views

What does 'had been long settled' mean?

The family of Dashwood had been long settled in Sussex. (My question) What does 'had been long settled' mean? Here my ideas.
1
vote
3answers
776 views

Has been run vs has been running

If I want to question someone about for how many hours a computer is turned on and running - and by the time of the question it is still running - which of the constructions below is more appropriate? ...
1
vote
4answers
657 views

Past perfect progressive followed by simple present

I've found the following sentence here: I had been enjoying the sunshine and blue sky of the day but as soon as we push open the door of the hangar, that pleasure ends brutally. Is simple ...
1
vote
4answers
6k views

“Done” vs. “did” & “seen” vs. “saw”

I am trying to find a logical way to explain how/when to use "done" vs "did" and "seen" vs "saw". The person I'm coaching uses the terms in the following manner and I just don't want to correct him, ...
1
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2answers
227 views

Past perfect sentence construction

This is an example sentence demonstrating the usage of past perfect: I checked with the supplier and they still hadn't received the contract. In this case the timeline rule works out as it ...
1
vote
3answers
458 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
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2answers
77 views

Present perfect or simple past in combination with past perfect?

I am grading student assignments and I ran into some unforeseen complications: Children have been suffering from post-traumatic stress and depression, more than six months after the city had been ...
1
vote
1answer
449 views

When not to use past perfect?

In a recent question: Past perfect or past simple in combination with present perfect? the asker presented three options. I have examined the document you gave me and... I have examined the ...