This sentence has been nagging me since this morning.

She had gone home as she had probably come. Source

Why are had gone and had come used instead of went and came?

  • 2
    Use of perfect constructions is dependent on context. Can you give us some more? Nov 30, 2019 at 18:42
  • What @StoneyB said. Specifically for your example, it depends whether the contextual "narrative time" includes her going home (maybe the next sentence is going to tell us how she felt while going home). Or whether that was something she did earlier (maybe the narrative continues by saying something about how she felt after she got home). Nov 30, 2019 at 18:53
  • @fumblefingers ok it was in one of the books! .The groping she had done had been in this direction,she was searching for this hat and coat (a man's hat,a derby, as I had been careful to assure myself at the first handling)and, in them, she had gone home as she had probably come , and there was no man in the case , or if there were –
    – Yurei akuma
    Nov 30, 2019 at 19:37

1 Answer 1


The narrator is speaking about a past reference time when was alone in the house after the woman left. He realized at that reference time that the woman he had seen leave had not gone out into the winter night without adequate clothes but had taken a man's hat and had gone home in the same condition in which, even earlier, she had arrived. All of these events occurred before the past reference time, and consequently are cast in the past perfect.


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