From the common English grammar lesson, the past perfect tense with had is usually followed by dependent clause. For example:

He had studied English before he moved to New York.

Now, if I want to say something like this:

Yes, I had turned off the lamp.


I had made two mistakes:

  1. ...
  2. ...

Is it allowed in English grammar?

closed as off-topic by Drew, oerkelens, Matt Gutting, andy256, Daniel Dec 19 '14 at 2:12

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  • 2
    It is allowed wherever a particular past event or scene is in context, and a time previous to that event or scene is being referred to. That can be (and in grammar books always is, because it's a simple rule) in the same sentence. But usually, in conversation, the speakers' common context expands as the conversation continues, so this is a normal part of a conversation. And, by extension, a normal part of certain kinds of writing, especially narrative (story-telling) which uses past perfect constructions as flashback devices. – John Lawler Dec 17 '14 at 16:10

As John Lawler has suggested, this is common elliptical construction. If the time by which the action had been completed is clear from the context, there is no need to repeat it.

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