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The past perfect in this example suggests that the writer is going to talk about something that happened at a point in the past after the had beens, or that he has already done so: a "main thing" that the past perfect is supposed to provide background information to. If there were no such "main thing" for the had beens to introduce, then the past perfect ...


Past perfect expresses a past within a past -- a time prior to some past time. In your example, the past tense of "explained" refers to a past time when the explaining took place, and the "when I was in high school" refers to a time even before the time of explaining. Thus, a past within a past. This example with the past perfect isn't really specific to ...

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