Questions tagged [simple-past-vs-past-perfect]

For questions about choosing between the past simple and past perfect tenses.

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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"...
12
votes
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 ...
1
vote
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 ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Present perfect vs. Past perfect for finished actions [duplicate]

When is the perfect tense used? All examples illustrating perfect are always answer to the same question. So there is no way when I can simply said: I have written a note or I had written a ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the meaning of: “When I was in New York, I had visited the Statue of Liberty”?

When I was in New York, I visited the Statue of Liberty. When I was in New York, I had visited the Statue of Liberty. What is the meaning of sentence 2? Is it the same as sentence 1? Does it ...
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 ...
5
votes
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".
8
votes
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?
1
vote
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
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... ...
-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 ...