She had lost her consciousness last night at the pub after having several cocktails.

Is the use of had (the past perfect tense) right here?

closed as unclear what you're asking by tchrist Nov 6 '16 at 16:24

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  • It could be ok to use had there, but we cannot say for sure without seeing more of the surrounding context. – tchrist Dec 1 '14 at 15:26

In informal speech and writing, we usually substitute "passed out" for "lost consciousness" when it has occurred as a result of drinking.

As for the use of "had" (past perfect tense), it depends whether the rest of the story is being told in the past tense. With only the one sentence you gave, and based on your use of "last night", it seems you are telling it from perspective of today, so as Josh recommended— no "had". But if the story continues in the past, e.g. if it tells what happened when she regained consciousness later that night, then "had" might be appropriate.


Not quite. A better phrasing is "She lost consciousness last night at the pub after having several cocktails." Consciousness is a state of being, 'losing consciousness' is a compound verb and shouldn't be split, in general.

I would also recommend cleaning up the end of the sentence a little bit, switching "having" to "drinking". Not a usage issue, but generally clearer.

  • 1
    It's not often that someone loses anyone's conciousness but their own. – Wayfaring Stranger Dec 1 '14 at 13:46

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