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"Although the waves barely covered my knees on this crossing, I still stopped on far bank and looked back to the mainland with a sense of exhilaration. I had made it back to my childhood island.(From Coastlines by Patrick Barkham ).

It seems not to be an example of "what happens earlier and what later",does it? Why did the author use past perfect here? I have some thoughts about the completion of the action. I don't think the usage was covered in the suggested explanation because though there are some examples of completion and they mention it,but there are always two verbs and two actions. What we are having here is one verb,no time reference, but a result of his efforts to visit the island of his childhood,the event he had been anticipating all his life.

  • I edited my question. – V.V. May 5 '16 at 10:57
  • It is not.There's no answer, no similar example. – V.V. May 5 '16 at 11:05
  • IMHO, this is not a duplicate of the other question. It's very specific about why the author uses had made rather than made in that sentence. – Damkerng T. May 5 '16 at 12:33
  • I don't know why the author uses far bank. It doesn't seem to be a proper noun, and thus it seems it should be the far bank. – Alan Carmack May 5 '16 at 12:41
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    He makes it back to the island before he stands on the island. – Peter Shor May 5 '16 at 12:42
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You say

What we are having here is one verb.

There seems to be a relatively common belief among ESL students that when you use past perfect, the two relevant verbs have to be in the same sentence. This isn't true. There are four verbs in this passage:

Although the waves barely covered my knees on this crossing, I still stopped on the far bank and looked back to the mainland with a sense of exhilaration. I had made it back to my childhood island.

The first three are in chronological order. The fourth comes before the second and third. Thus, we use past perfect for it. (We could use past perfect for the first verb as well, but we don't need to because it's in chronological order.)

0

I had made it back

simply refers to arriving (coming back) to the island.

The first sentence can be in the near present because it talks about activities after arriving. (As much as I can get with no other context, and the timeline being unclear.)

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There are two past actions and as such this is a classic use of the past perfect.

Most recent action:

stop on far bank and look back to the mainland

Prior action:

make it back to to the island

He makes it back to the island before he stops and looks back.

This concept seems to be clearly covered in, When is the past perfect exactly needed?

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