i am so confused right now , they both look the same to me as far as i understand past perfect is used to talk about an action that was completed before some point in the past so : "i had had breakfast then went to school" looks fine to me
but : "i had breakfast then went to school" also looks fine to me because the sentence self explains itself because of the "then" placed at the middle of the sentence , the listener can easily notice which action happened first

When should i use Past Simple + Past Simple and when to use Past Perfect + Past Simple ?

thanks in advance.

1 Answer 1


"I had had breakfast then went to school" looks odd, because the use of the past perfect implies there is a temporal focus in the past, but later than the breakfast; but then strongly implies that the going to school follows the breakfast, so the temporal focus is established and then immediately abandoned.

If the narrative made some use of the temporal focus, this would make more sense; for example: I had had breakfast, and was waiting for the bus. When it arrived, I went to school.

"I had breakfast then went to school" is normal: there is no particular temporal focus established, you are just narrating one event and then a following event.

  • that helped me a lot , thanks for your time.
    – AmirWG
    Sep 9, 2019 at 18:18

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