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I have learned past perfect recently, and I am trying to test myself with it.

I was having a shower at 7pm yesterday, because I had worked very hard, and I got very dirty.

Is this past perfect sentence correct?

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  • You could also say: because I had been working very hard. – anouk May 6 '20 at 15:14
  • By the way, I know it's not part of your question, but why are you using the past progressive tense (was having a shower) in your example? It's not wrong, but I wanted to make sure you weren't avoiding the past simple tense because you thought it wouldn't work in the example. – RuslanD May 6 '20 at 19:33
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Your sentence has taught me something new! Apparently, in British English people "have a shower", whereas in American English (which is what I speak) people "take a shower" (as also explained in the Oxford Learners' Dictionary). I'm glad I checked before suggesting that you should use "take a shower".

Your use of the past perfect for the verb "work" is correct, but I believe you should use it for "get" as well:

I was having a shower at 7pm yesterday, because I had worked very hard and had gotten (or "had got" in BrE) very dirty.

The logic is the same as for why you're using the past perfect for "work" - you got dirty before taking that shower. You could also say:

I was having a shower at 7pm yesterday, because I had worked very hard and I was very dirty.

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  • can we use comma before a subordinating clause "because I had worked ..." ? – Sandip Kumar Mandal May 6 '20 at 12:04
  • @SandipKumarMandal according to the Chicago Manual of Style, you don't need a comma before "because" in some cases, but you do in others. I think the comma can safely be omitted in the above example because it doesn't change the meaning, but I don't think it's wrong to have it in there. Per AIQ's answer, it might be slightly better to leave it out in the example. – RuslanD May 6 '20 at 19:11
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Yes, it is grammatically correct and makes sense.

I would remove the last I since it is obvious you are talking about yourself from the rest of the sentence, in this way it sounds more natural:

I was having a shower at 7pm yesterday, because I had worked very hard, and got very dirty.

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    I think the OP's sentence is incorrect - it is missing parallelism. The second clause should have the past perfect tense: "and [I] had gotten [or got] dirty." – AIQ May 6 '20 at 11:47
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I was having a shower at 7pm yesterday, because I had worked very hard, and I got very dirty.

It is incorrect.

... because I had worked very hard, past perfect and I got very dirty.simple past

You should use the past perfect of "to get", which is "had gotten" in AmE and "had got" in BrE. Don't confuse this with "have got" that is used in the sense of possession {= I have got a shotgun in the trunk} or must {= I have got to finish it by tomorrow}. See Difference between “I have got” and “I have gotten” in ELU.

I digress, the correct version is this:

... because I had worked very hard, and [because] I had gotten [or got] very dirty.

You can also say it like this:

... because I had {worked very hard and gotten very dirty}.

Additional Comments:

First, don't break up a complete thought with a comma; it is not needed here (that is, if you are writing this down; in speech, a pause may be fine there).

I was having a shower at 7pm yesterday because ...

Compare a simpler version:

I was having a shower because ...

Second, you could drop the comma and the "I" in the second independent clause:

... because I had worked very hard , and I got very dirty.

And write this instead (if you wanted to):

I was having a shower at 7pm yesterday because I had worked very hard and had gotten very dirty.

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We can use past perfect tense to talk about two earlier past events in one sentence if there is a continuation of the past events :

I was having a shower at 7pm yesterday because I had worked very hard, and I got very dirty.

IT IS INCORRECT.

(The comma before 'and' and the subject 'I' after 'and' technically show here is no continuation, so past perfect has not been used. it's incorrect because he got dirty while working hard : his working hard and getting dirty are simultaneous. So, the subordinate clause should show a continuation of these two actions.)

I was having a shower at 7pm yesterday because I had worked very hard and had got very dirty.

IT IS CORRECT.

( Here, the comma has been dropped and the subject 'I' has been omitted, so here is a continuation. Therefore,. past perfect tense has been used.)

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  • The point about including the comma before "and" and about there being "no continuation" would be correct if the actions occurred at different points in time. But that is not logical given what is happening here. Before he took that shower, he was tired and dirty. He got dirty while working really hard. Both actions happened at the same time, and that is why there is "continuation". Your explanation suggests there are two separate events: (1) I was having a shower ... because I had worked very hard and (2) I got very dirty. This sounds like he got dirty after taking the shower. - cont. – AIQ May 6 '20 at 13:37
  • I don't think this is what the OP means. The most logical explanation here is that the guy worked real hard, and while doing that he got dirty. The sentence should therefore be parsed like this: I was having a shower ... because (1) I had worked very hard and (2) had gotten very dirty. Your technical argument is correct, but not for this context. – AIQ May 6 '20 at 13:37
  • @AIQ, yes, his working hard and getting dirty are simultaneous. So, the subordinate clause should show a continuation of these two actions. – Sandip Kumar Mandal May 6 '20 at 14:24
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    Ahhh, there you go. Because you did not specify whether OP's post was correct or incorrect it felt as if you were saying it's correct. It's all good now. – AIQ May 6 '20 at 21:07

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