I've come across two examples of past-perfect in the textbook and was wondering if someone could please explain why the latter sentences still use 'had' and why it shouldn't be omitted:

1) When I arrived, Jack had cleaned the room and made dinner.

OK. Subject = Jack, Actions = had cleaned the room / had made dinner. Second 'had' omitted as the subject is the same and the compound verb shares the same auxiliary.

2) They had had accidents and they had been rescued. They had been afraid and they had escaped.

?? Why is the auxiliary 'had' still in the sentences? It's the same subject 'they' and they are both using the same auxiliary? Shouldn't it be 'they had had accidents and been rescued'?

If someone could please explain it to me - I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

  • 2
    (1) describes fairly mundane activities in an informal manner. (2) apparently refers to significant, dramatic events and so uses a more 'correct' style to emphasise the importance of what has happened Oct 13, 2019 at 8:12
  • Jack had cleaned the room and he had made dinner is perfectly good grammar, as is they had had accidents and been rescued. You shouldn't obsess on why different authors use different styles when they're all grammatical. Oct 13, 2019 at 12:41
  • There is no should or shouldn't. Either is fine. It's a matter of style and personal choice. Oct 13, 2019 at 14:42
  • @KateBunting: Thank you. If you post your comment as an answer, I will accept it :)
    – Amethyst11
    Oct 14, 2019 at 6:51

1 Answer 1


Both constructions, repeating had or not, are perfectly acceptable.

(1) describes fairly mundane activities in an informal manner.

(2) apparently refers to some significant, dramatic events. A more 'correct', formal style is used to emphasise the gravity of what has happened.

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