Take a look at the sentence:

I has understood subject only after had watched this video. I had been thinking what it is something different.

So there is 3 successive time-points: think → watch → understand (all before "now")

What time I should use?

How does meaning changes for

  • Present Perfect, Past Perfect, Past Perfect Continuous
  • Present Perfect and twice Past Perfect
  • twice Present Perfect and Past Perfect
  • something different

1 Answer 1


The meaning doesn't change much with those verb tenses, but some sound more natural than others.

The first verb, "understand", only sounds right to me in the simple past ("I understood"). The present perfect "I have understood" would sound very formal or literary in this case ("Only after watching this video have I understood the subject." --Shakespeare 😄)

The second verb works best as the present participle "watching" (no pronoun) or the simple past "I watched". The past perfect "I had watched" isn't wrong, but it feels unnecessary.

The last verb I would conjugate as "I thought" or "I had thought". You could also say "I was thinking" or "I had been thinking", but again, it feels a little complicated.

Putting it all together:

I understood the subject only after watching this video. I thought it was something different.

  • "understood" is 2nd form, past simple, "I watched" is past simple, isn't it? When Perfect really important, and you cannot just add some "after", "until","before" etc?
    – yalov
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 2:34
  • Sorry, I had a few typos in there. You're right, "I watched" is the simple past. I'm not sure I understand the second part of your question.
    – bertday
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 15:31

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