12

There's no special magic with "had had", they don't really go together as a pair anymore than "had wanted" go together. So don't worry so much about how to use "had had" as a unit of grammar, they will come together naturally when you want to express the verb 'to have' in the past perfect. Let's consider a different verb for a moment like "to want". ...


11

As FumbleFingers noted, keep is acceptable. As to which is 'more right', if it is possible to have degrees of correctness, that is a question of style rather than grammar. In the antediluvian days of my youth, "I insisted that he kept..." could mean only that he kept ... at some past time, and at some later time I insisted on the truth of this. "I ...


11

I've given he a name to make for easier reference: Bob sighed and replied quickly, as if he had had only a few seconds' time before John changed his mind. This sentence is not wrong but the following might be better: Bob sighed and replied quickly, as if he had only a few seconds before John would change his mind. The past perfect in the original ...


10

The past perfect is used to emphasise completion of a past action. Example: I arrived home after my wife had gone to bed. In other words: "My wife went to bed. Sometime after that I arrived home." In your sentence, the speaker is using the past perfect to emphasise the following: It stopped raining. Sometime after that I stopped waiting (because I ...


9

In most cases, have is used as an auxiliary verb. Examples of auxiliary verbs, I have to go to school. I need to go to school. They have eaten breakfast. She has never played football. He does not eat breakfast. However, the verb have is also often used as a proper verb (as opposed to being an auxiliary verb) in place of proper verbs such as eat ...


8

Following to, the verb is in the infinitive and has no tense. So you should use the base form: get. Nor is this the perfect. Here, the had is part of the idiomatic have to, meaning that there was no option but to get used to it.


7

Yes, they are all hypothetical, in the sense that they describe actions that haven't actually happened. However, the difference between the two is based on whether the event mentioned in the condition actually happened. Let me illustrate with a few examples. The first form ("If X had asked") can be applied to situations where some entirely different action ...


7

In the particular instance raised by the OP, the suitability of B's wording depends on contextual details not provided in the posted question, and on how narrowly we define the word new. If the episode that A and B are watching is being broadcast for the first time on the occasion when they are watching and talking about it, and if new means "never broadcast ...


7

This is my opinion as an American. The past perfect is not gone, but it is my impression that we don't use the past perfect when the simple past is sufficient to relay the intended meaning. Most of the time, as in your sentences, there are other constructions to supplement the simple past and convey it as perfect past. I heard about her before I met her. ...


6

Yes, you need did to change to perfect tense, to be consistent. Whether you want done or had done is a matter of preference: Lucy had cleaned three rooms, done all the dishes in the kitchen, and even mopped the staircase. Lucy had cleaned three rooms, had done all the dishes in the kitchen, and had even mopped the staircase. The first version would ...


6

I think the sentence is fine. If it were spoken quickly, a native speaker would have no trouble understanding what is meant. However, the use of the conditional in the if clause ("If I would have gone to Canada") is an informal style that many style guides would advise against. I personally would call it "clunky." The American Heritage Dictionary has a ...


6

I would have had to have been and I would have had to be are alternatives, but have had already sets up the time reference, so the infinitive to be, rather than the perfect infinitive to have been is enough. Usage seems to confirm this. The British National Corpus has 15 records of would have had to have been and 45 of would have had to be. The figures for ...


6

Yes, I think there is an exception for "historic present". In this context, both "have left" and "had left" are possible, but there is a difference in meaning (at least for me): "have left" brings the act of leaving into the story, whereas "had left" puts it outside the story, before the story started, perhaps. However, the distinction is not really a ...


6

It is a perfectly normal English construction and is an example of what foreign learners are sometimes taught as the Third Conditional. The speaker imagines something that didn't actually happen (in this case, he didn't hit the snake) and speculates what the consequence would have been if it had happened (he would have killed the snake).


6

If you look at a little context, you can see that Conan-Doyle came adrift from his timeframe just a bit: The account of Mrs. Allen, the housekeeper, was, so far as it went, a corroboration of that of her fellow servant. The housekeeper's room was rather nearer to the front of the house than the pantry in which Ames had been working. She was preparing to ...


6

The past perfect construction is used to describe a past event that precedes another past event. In the example, the first event is the wind blowing out the candle, and the second event is the speakers finding themselves in the dark. That makes the second sentence an entirely appropriate way of saying what happened. The crucial word that indicates the ...


6

Your first sentence is indeed grammatical, but the second sentence is not. If you had just checked, that act of checking occurred prior to another past event, and no such other past event is identified in this second sentence. (Of course, the other past event could be identified earlier in the same text.) But the use of Present Perfect in the second ...


6

Try inserting the word "now" in the second half of the sentence: The scythe that had done the work [now] leaned against the tree. Those are two different actions being described, taking place at two different points in the past. First (earlier), the scythe did some work. THEN (later) it leaned against the tree, like so.


5

The Past Perfect is used to show that the action of signing had been completed before the next action took place. In this particular example, however, I would find it better if the next verb, took, were in the same form, since both actions were completed before the next one, i.e. the lawyer's gloating: After the rancher had signed the release and taken the ...


5

Simple: the first refers to the past, the second refers to the present. If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. This implies that I didn't ask people what they wanted and I've lost my chance to. If I asked people what they wanted, they would say faster horses. This implies that I haven't asked them yet, but if I ...


5

Tricky. If I understand you, you are asking for a construction which expresses contingent killing stretching from the 'reference point', where the murderer was in fact killed to some indefinite point—which with respect to the time of utterance might be 'now' 'before now' or 'after now' but with respect to the reference point must be 'after then'. I ...


5

If I were reading a story that began I knew Mr. Brown for exactly 15 minutes. He had met me at the entrance and was now accompanying me to the meeting. I would expect the following things of the story: Mr. Brown would die 15 minutes after he had met First Person Narrator. FPN's second sentence would begin a narration of the circumstances of his death. (...


5

In most contexts the first of the three would be the one to use. The other two would be possible only in rather unusual circumstances.


5

I have examined is a present perfect construction, and so it describes the speaker’s state now. Any reference to a preceding event is expressed with another present perfect construction or with the past tense. A preceding event would normally be expressed with the past perfect construction only when the current event is itself moved to the past, as in I ...


5

There is a meaning distinction between these: I left before they decided what to do. I left before they had decided what to do. The first one can have the nuance: I left specifically not to be there when they decide. The second one does not, and that form with the perfect would be used when the speaker wants to make it clear "I left before they ...


5

It can go either way in different contexts. If the court had insisted that everyone keep a straight face, the meaning of it is what you're supposing: that the court is, in the time frame referenced, insisting that portrait subjects remain serious in their portraits. If the court really had insisted that everyone kept a straight face, the object of the ...


5

As other answers have already suggested, B's sentence is in the past perfect tense (or past tense with perfect aspect), which is formed by taking the past tense form of the verb "have" ("had") followed by the past participle of the main verb. The past perfect is used with two different moods: Past Perfect + Subjunctive Mood The subjunctive mood in ...


5

There are three sentences in which the interaction of tenses, is being examined for error: During the 1950s, the Detroit area emerges as a metropolitan region with the construction of an extensive freeway system that had expanded in ensuing decades. In a discovery at least fifty years in the making, a new and bizarre dinosaur species has been ...


5

This is a question of 'past simple' (didn't think) vs 'past perfect' (hadn't thought). Past simple is used to indicate that something happened before the present. Past perfect is used to indicate that something happened before some other past event. So with this specific question lets label each of the events/actions: A - It was late B - I was trying to ...


4

Both forms express perfect aspect, that is to say they express a state resulting from an earlier event. The has/have been form is known as the present perfect and relates what has happened in the past to what is happening now. The had been form is known as the past perfect and pushes the events further back. It relates what happened at some time in the past ...


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