Questions tagged [past-perfect]

Questions about Past Perfect tense

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12
votes
2answers
24k views

Why do people sometimes use the past perfect form of a verb when the past would suffice? (e.g. “you had mentioned”)

I noticed that my American friends tend to use the past perfect form when they use the verb mention in its past form, almost despite of the context of the sentence. I hear them say "you had mentioned"...
22
votes
7answers
104k views

What does “had had” mean? How does this differ from “had”?

For example, what is the difference between the following two sentences: I had a bad day I had had a bad day
12
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2answers
657k views

When do we use “had had” and “have had”? [duplicate]

I have seen several sentences in English where some writers have written had twice in a row. I am a bit confused about when the grammar calls for using had had. For example: I had had my car ...
6
votes
1answer
6k views

Speculative conditional: Why does it use the past tense or past perfect tense?

We use simple past to state a hypothetical present situation that we would like to speculate about (If they were here, I would be happy), past perfect for a hypothetical past (had they been here, I ...
1
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2answers
2k views

Simple past vs. past perfect

Which is correct to use in the following example, simple past or past perfect? We were completely in the dark after the wind blew the candle out. We were completely in the dark after the wind ...
9
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8answers
52k views

Is this correct: “I'd have to have had…”

This sentence makes my head hurt a bit, and it doesn't seem right, but perhaps you guys could help me sort it out. "If I would've gone to Canada, I'd have to have had some kind of winter gear."
3
votes
1answer
34k views

When to use 'had been' + past participle of the verb

I read the sentence below in a news article: "The couple had been engaged since the summer," her spokeswoman said in a statement. Why was "had been engaged" used in this sentence. Is it wrong to ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

present tense with past perfect?

I came across something really strange today in class. Because it was an anecdote, the story changed from past to present. Then, in the same sentence, the writer used the past perfect tense with the ...
2
votes
1answer
63k views

Where should we use 'has/have been' and 'had been'?

Where should we use "has/have been" and "had been"? What is the difference between them?
4
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5answers
19k views

“Would have had to have been” vs “would have had to be” for past event conditions

I instinctively said I would have had to have been over 180 lbs for that to have happened. I thought that seemed overly wordy. Too many "have"s and "had"s. So I tried: I would have had to be ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Correct tense for events which happend long time ago but still have direct connection with present time

Suppose that a man disappeared twenty years ago and I haven't had a notice about him since then. What should I say to my interlocutor if I want to tell him about this story? You know, Harry has ...
3
votes
2answers
7k views

Past perfect or simple past with 'ago'?

As a non-native speaker but a teacher of the English language I've come across the following question reading a pupil's report: Should she use the simple past or past perfect in her sentence? Last ...
3
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2answers
3k views

Past perfect sentence in “I would have killed the snake if I had hit him…”

Is the following a correct past perfect sentence? I would have killed the snake if I had hit him hard with a stick.
2
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6answers
4k views

“Didn't want to do X until Y happened” vs. “hadn't wanted to do X until Y happened”

Which answer is correct? Tony _______to have children until his little daughter was born. After she won his heart, he decided he wanted a big family. A. didn't want. B. hadn't wanted. ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

confusing sentence “before I'd had a chance, my sister ran up …”

Recently, I came across this sentence "Before I'd had a chance to look at the letter, my sister ran up and pulled them out of my hand!" (it's in the book "destination B1 grammar & vocabulary with ...
1
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1answer
1k views

Use of Past Simple vs Past perfect in sentences with since

Ann admitted that she hadn't seen her parents since she left London. Is the above sentence OK or do I have to write Ann admitted that she hadn't seen her parents since she had left London.
0
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3answers
20k views

“I wish I didn't do” vs. “I wish I hadn't done”

Now I feel sick. I wish I [didn't eat/hadn't eaten] pork with cheese for dinner. I would use "hadn't eaten" as it was my dinner but "now I feel sick" confuses me.
0
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2answers
203 views

Is past perfect necessary in the following

I read the following on abcnews, but couldn't convince myself to accept the past perfect form the sentence. What is the action before which the 'had mailed' part has occurred and completed? And why ...
3
votes
2answers
12k views

“Until” and past perfect

Having seen one sentence in "Practical English Usage" by M.Swan (a very popular grammar book), I was really puzzled. I waited until the rain had stopped. The past perfect is generally used to show ...
2
votes
3answers
18k views

Past Perfect sentences with “before”

I had seen a documentary on the Whydah before we visited it in Providence. Sir Francis Drake had worked for the British Navy before he became a pirate. These two sentences seem quite awkward to me ...
5
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4answers
1k views

“I left before they had decided what to do” Why is 'decided' in the past perfect?

I left before they had decided what to do. Is this because this is a past version of "I leave before they have decided what to do"? Because "left" doesn't come before "decided".
3
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5answers
1k views

“hadn't have killed” vs “hadn't killed”

Can someone help? "Dave killed Peter." Dave asked Susan, "why was Peter here?" Susan said, "Maybe he would have told you if you hadn't have killed him." Would there have been any difference if she ...
3
votes
1answer
206 views

American dialects: Replacing the past-perfect participle with the simple-past form

I have come across some American media (The Alternate History Hub youtube channel comes to mind) in which the perfect participle and the simple-past form have been merged. For example, we would have: ...
2
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1answer
418 views

Past Perfect Confusion

In a book these two forms are acceptable: Before a complete version of Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Women appeared in 1880, the book had been published in two separate volumes. AND Before a ...
8
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3answers
600 views

What difference does using 'had' make to those two verb tenses, and if so, what is it?

What is the difference between if I had studied and if I studied? Can you provide an example of when one usage would be more appropriate than the other?
4
votes
1answer
14k views

using had had in a sentence [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What does “had had” mean? How does this differ from “had”? I had had so many interruptions this morning that I scarcely had done any work or I had ...
3
votes
3answers
23k views

past perfect + would have + ed-participle / past simple + would + infinitive

Could you clarify difference between sentences: If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses If I asked people what they wanted, they would say faster horses ...
3
votes
1answer
642 views

Past Perfect and Past Simple in AmE

I've recently been told that Past Perfect and Past Simple tenses are interchangeable in AmE. I know that it is possible to use the Past Simple tense instead of the Present Perfect one in AmE but have ...
1
vote
2answers
284 views

Why past perfect in the following?

The following is taken from a website. In the context below why the second part, "had signed", is in past perfect? ... The case was scheduled to be tried before the justice of the peace in the back ...
0
votes
2answers
12k views

Past perfect and using before/after

My friend and I are having a debate about the following sentence and what to slot into the gap: ______ we had finished the course, we received certificates. (Before/After) To me it sounds correct to ...
0
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3answers
154k views

“I met” vs “I've met” [closed]

What's the difference between the following? I met him in the UK. I've met him in the UK. Does the second sentence mean that the event was happened recently?
9
votes
1answer
2k views

“You were already having been going to do that!”

From one of the Futurama episodes: Farnsworth A: You people and your slight differences disgust me. I'm going home. Where's that blue box with our universe in it? Farnsworth 1: Oh, you'...
2
votes
2answers
488 views

Past Perfect question forms with 'before' etc

A part of an entry about Past Perfect (424.1) in Swan's Practical English Usage 3rd Ed states that the past perfect is not necessary in the cases where we use conjunctions (e.g. after, as soon as) and ...
2
votes
1answer
330 views

Is “When I lived in Berlin, I had seen the movie three times” grammatical?

Today I read the following description of preterite perfect in The Cambridge Grammar of English Language. The distinction between the present perfect and the simple preterite is neutralized ...
1
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2answers
395 views

Reported speech: why is the past perfect the right answer here?

Please help me to find out the right answer. He said that they ______ each other for many years. a) know b) have known c) knew d) had known In the book I referred the right ...
1
vote
2answers
468 views

Felt + present/ past (back shifting ) [duplicate]

A few months back I met a celebrity and seeing his glamour I felt that I have/had no past or future. Which is to be used, had or have ?
1
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3answers
3k views

“Since she had given up smoking, …” or “Since she gave up smoking, …”?

Since she had given up smoking, she has been looking good. or Since she gave up smoking, she has been looking good. Shouldn't it be "had given up"?
1
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1answer
1k views

Past vs Past Perfect

While writing a paper for my English class, I couldn't decided whether past or past perfect tense was needed. It's basically about how a guy whose house is destroyed because the government wants to ...
1
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1answer
1k views

How to write past perfect forms of two verbs in one sentence

(1) Alex had quit his job and started a company before he won the lottery. (2) Alex had quit his job and had started a company before he won the lottery. I want to indicate that the act of ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Past perfect or past simple in combination with present perfect?

Suppose I received a document from my colleague, studied it and then gave him feedback in a letter. How should I construct the following sentense? I have examined the document you gave me and... ...
0
votes
1answer
100 views

Should there be the Past Perfect? “He advised me to do as he said but I didn't pay any…” [closed]

Where is the error in the following line? He advised me to do as he said but I didn't pay any attention to his advice. I am confused what is the error here or even error been there or not? As far ...
0
votes
1answer
258 views

Past perfect simple vs past perfect continuous

I am struggling with an example sentence (Fill the gap type of exercise): When I arrived, everybody was sitting round the table and talking. Their mouths were empty, but their stomachs were full. >>...
0
votes
3answers
518 views

“I had no sooner returned than I turned on” vs. “I have no sooner returned than I turn on”

Context: As a teacher who loves writing, I am interested in posting messages on the twitter. Which of the following options is correct? Please explain the reasoning. I am so interested in ...
0
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2answers
5k views

Two past perfect verbs in the same sentence even though sequence is indicated

A group of environmentalists helped direct several small sharks that had lost their way after they had swum through polluted waters to migrate South. Swimming comes before losing the way, yet both ...
-1
votes
2answers
846 views

Present Perfect Vs Present Perfect Continuous and Simple Past/ Past Perfect Vs Past Perfect Continuous [closed]

What is the difference in meanings of the following pairs of sentences? It's very confusing to me. a. I have lived in Paris for 4 years. b. I have been living in Paris for 4 years. a. I ...
-1
votes
1answer
2k views

Replacing past perfect tense with past tense

For had fallen in a when-clause, can the past perfect tense be replaced with the past tense? Easily the most boring class was History of Magic, which was the only one taught by a ghost. Professor ...