'When he told me it was finished it felt like all hope from my life had gone – it was overwhelming,' she says. Please help me understand this usage of PP. If we look at the timeline of this sentence it will look like this: He told her it was finished then she lost her hope and after she felt it.

Do i understand this correctly? What would happen if she used simple past?

1 Answer 1


This is how the past perfect works: if the events do not occur in the order they are mentioned in the sentence, English speakers are likely to use past perfect (unless there are time adverbs or prepositions that make the order of events clear). If they do occur in the order mentioned, past perfect is generally optional.

Order of events:

  1. it is finished,
  2. she loses all hope,
  3. she feels.

Since (3) occurs before (2), we use past perfect to indicate that the events are out of order, even though (2) occurs after (1).

If she had used the simple past,

it felt like all hope went from my life,

it would mean essentially the same thing. (Although for reasons I don't understand, you can't use inversion with went.)

  • "it felt like all hope went from my life" yea it does sound awkward. thanks for the answer!
    – user344689
    Apr 22, 2019 at 5:46

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