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enter image description hereand I'm wondering this omission happens frequently and when it happens.

  • Could you provide examples of what you mean, please? – Livrecache Jan 7 '18 at 23:55
  • 'The project that I had prepared was done yesterday.' Like this, 'had prepared' is accompanied by 'yesterday'. I uploaded a picture file to give some examples. As far as I know, 'had p.p' is accompanied by a certain time that implies, until then, some action or status had been maintained. But as shown in the above picture, I often find out past perfect is used independently. – msomangs Jan 8 '18 at 0:52
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Particularly in narrative, the use of the past perfect can itself establish the time.

Examples like the one you give are quite common at the beginning of a story or a chapter: they establish a "story time" without having to say so explicitly, and mention events earlier than that story time.

  • The common narrative tense is the past tense. Establishing prior time is done for a reason, which in context should be soon apparent. The past perfect doesn't exist in a vacuum. – KarlG Jan 9 '18 at 21:49
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The past perfect is strictly a referential tense that places something further in the past than some subsequent event. Without reference to that event, there is no reason to use the past perfect.

John had just put down his book when he heard the crash in the kitchen.

First, John put down the book, then he heard the crash. Without the crash that came later, John's putting down his book is just some random event in the past that would be expressed in the simple past tense.

Now there is a construction that looks like the past perfect but isn't:

If I had known then what I know now, things would have turned out differently..

This is the subjunctive/unreal condition that talks about something in the past that did not occur. The result clause talks about what might have happened if it had.

  • And yet "Joy had forgotten her lunch at home" is perfectly acceptable, as is. It certainly implies that there is more to the story, but then that would be true of the opening line of any story. Are you saying the book is wrong and the author should have used the simple past? – Andrew Jan 9 '18 at 21:25
  • The past perfect doesn't imply that the event so cast takes place earlier in narrative time; it states it outright, signaling the reader to find the event or state next in the sequence. Your example sentence is incomplete without this reference, which, I assume, is not long in coming. – KarlG Jan 9 '18 at 21:47
  • Is there anything in my answer to suggest that the narrative moment has to be established in the same sentence? If so, I'll edit to make that clear. – KarlG Jan 9 '18 at 22:04

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