He had worked hard.

He worked hard.

I understand the grammar of both sentences, but i don't know when i should use the first sentence and when use the second.

  • You need to refer this to the English Language Learners' site. It involves very basic English grammar.
    – WS2
    Nov 10 '14 at 16:48

"He had worked hard" should apply to a definite action occurring prior to another, e.g., before he attended the interview, he had worked hard to improve his knowlege of the company.


Let us assume that he worked hard over a period of time, perhaps over the course of a week, month or several years. Now, what is our point of perspective? From what point in time are we now looking back at this period of hard work?

If we are looking back from the present, simply say He worked hard.

If we are talking about a specific point in the past and looking back on an even earlier period of hard work, say He had worked hard.

For example: "He was rich. He had not always been so, but he had worked hard and by this time he could afford to relax."

  • If we are looking back from the present, we normally use a present perfect - He has worked hard (in the time period that continues up to the moment of speaking). It is perhaps better to say that we are placing a situation in past time when we use the past simple, and in a prior past time when we use the past perfect.
    – tunny
    Nov 10 '14 at 17:02

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