Gillian visited (to visit) her friend Ann in Hull. She went (to go) there by train. Before she arrived (to arrive), Gillian had fallen (to fall) asleep and nearly missed the station. After she had left the train, she noticed (to notice) that she had forgotten (to forget) her bag. But a nice woman had thrown (to throw) it out of the window before the train left (to leave). After Gillian had seen (to see) her friend, she was very happy. Before they went (to go) to Ann's house, they had had (to have) a huge ice cream. During their visit the two girls talked (to talk) a lot about school, their friends and of course about the boys. They had (to have) a great time together. Before Gillian left (to leave) her friend again, she had bought (to buy) a souvenir for her mum.

I think these 4 past perfects are not necessary: because of before the sequence of events are clear without past perfect. Am I right ?

May be there are too much " before" and "after" and it makes the text confusing and past perfect is necessary

I don't see a reason to emphasize these actions


1 Answer 1


The past perfect is not used to emphasize actions, but rather to clarify sequence. With the multiple uses of "before" and "after," the sequence here is clear without the past perfect, but the past perfect does reinforce the sequence.

So the answer is that the highlighted instances of the past perfect are not necessary to understanding, but may be useful to the author's purpose. However, I agree that even if the author was for some reason intent on stressing sequence, there were probably better ways to do it. The "had seen" strikes me in paricular as serving little purpose.

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