We went to watch a movie after we had completed our work.

Why the need for the word "had" when there is the word "after"?

  • 5
    There is no need for the word "had" when you use the word "after"; anybody who told you this is wrong. On the other hand, using the word "had" is also grammatically correct, because completing the work happened before you went to the movies. Dec 6, 2018 at 15:20

1 Answer 1


You would still have "had" if you used another term, even an opposite term, such as "before."

We went to watch a movie before we had completed our work.

"Had" is required as a part of the pluperfect construction. "After" is a preposition, like would be "before," that signifies the temporal relationship between the clauses. It adds semantic value and as demonstrated is generally independent of the tense.

  • When I study this construction I had perceived that the need of "had" is to identify which action happened first. If so there is no need of "had"if th
    – Mathew KJ
    Dec 7, 2018 at 3:51
  • if it follows "after, befor" etc.
    – Mathew KJ
    Dec 7, 2018 at 3:54

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