By way of introduction, he said that when he was younger he had worked for a construction company.


In this sentence, I would like to know why past perfect tense is used for "he had worked".

Is it because of "he said"? I learned past perfect tense is used for marking two events are related, and the previous event uses the past perfect tense.

But in this sentence, I am not sure why it is used. Could you please help me? Thank you.

1 Answer 1


Your sentence is a kind of indirect speech.The direct form of this sentence is:

He said, "when I was younger, I worked for a construction company."

When you want to turn a direct speech into indirect one,

Past tense changes into past perfect

So the indirect speech of the sentence above is: he said when he was younger, he had worked for a construction company.

The reason of why I did not change the tense of dependent clause is that:

When your direct speech is a complex sentence and the tense of your dependent clause is in the past, you can leave it without change in the indirect form

I clarify it with more examples:

He told me, "I met you when you were a student.(direct form)

He told me he had met me when I was a student.(indirect form)

As you see the tense of dependent clause remains the same in the indirect form of speech.

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