Questions tagged [past-perfect]

This tag is for questions about the usage of the past perfect tense.

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47 votes
3 answers
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When is the past perfect exactly needed?

I have never had this problem before. But after seeing some questions posted on ELU, I started to doubt. I have been through links1, pages of grammar books2, a lot of questions3 posted here and ELU. I ...
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18 votes
3 answers
8k views

When is using the past perfect tense not necessary?

Is it more natural to speak in simple past or past perfect when explaining past events to a friend? It seems like Americans use more simple past in everyday life than past perfect. I found this ...
jess's user avatar
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5 votes
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Difference between "has + verbed" and "had + verbed"

This is something which came up in my last question. As far as I know "had + verb" is done (started & finished) in the past. What's about "has + verb"? Can anyone please explain me the ...
Stefan Weiss's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
2k views

why "was" is used in Perfect past tense?

I have query that i have seen many sentences that uses Past Participle after "was". But i am little bit confused with Past continuous and Past perfect Tense. Can anyone tell me the difference?
Shailendra Patil's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
2k views

"She never saw a bear before she moved to Alaska." Why incorrect?

The rule says if the order of two actions/events is clear then the past perfect is not necessary, i.e. you can use past simple. So if the sentence has before or after then the order is clear and ...
learner's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
3k views

English's imperfect tense and its imperfection

It just occurred to me that in English, when we use what Spanish would refer to as the "imperfect tense", we are actually adding a mode of termination to the action. Whereas in Spanish, there is no ...
dockeryZ's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
21k views

Tense agreement: "Before he 'had come'/'came' to the factory, Tom 'was studying'/'had studied' at the university of London"

Which of the following sentences is correct? Before he had come to the factory, Tom was studying at the university of London. Before he came to the factory, Tom had studied at the University ...
upgrate's user avatar
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6 votes
5 answers
2k views

Is it possible to be grammatically correct without using past perfect?

Can you guys please help with which verb tense to use when talking about numerous specific events? In the example below, I'm not quite sure if past perfect really is necessary. "She sent me a ...
jess's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
15k views

"Have waited" vs. "did wait" vs. "have been waiting"

My friend is waiting for me at bus stand; I arrive and I want to ask him about the time he waited for me. How would I say? How long have you waited for me? How long did you wait for me? How ...
muhammad's user avatar
  • 381
2 votes
1 answer
389 views

Necessity of using "had had" when a single "had" could have sufficed?

If Sir John had had the slightest idea what was going to be the devastating effect of his son's handsome looks upon a certain beautiful courtesan and the tragedy which would ensue, he might have had ...
Mistu4u's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
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difference between present perfect simple or continuous?

I would like to know if there is a difference between I have just talked to John about this and I have just been talking to John about this? Does the progressive mean the conversation ...
anouk's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
626 views

(In)completeness for perfect / perfect continuous tenses

I'm studying tenses and the Perfect and Perfect Progressive tenses are causing me the most trouble. There is one particular thing I find the most confusing -- the implication of (in)completeness of ...
mosceo's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
172 views

Using of past perfect

In the following sentence we use the past perfect tense: He had probably crashed because he had gone to sleep while he was driving. I thought the past perfect is used when we're talking about "...
Dmitrii Bundin's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
2k views

Difference between Simple Past and Past Perfect

What is the difference in meaning between the two examples below? When she returned home from office, she was shocked to see that her husband and daughter were missing. (Simple Past) When she ...
user4084's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
5k views

Had done / had been doing

I had been eating before I visited you. I had eaten before I visited you. How do you know when to use either of them?
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3 votes
2 answers
772 views

Is the word "carry" in "had been carrying a precious cargo" a state verb or action verb?

This is the first paragraph of an article: The salvage operation had been a complete failure. The small ship, Elkor, which had been searching the Barents Sea for weeks, was on tis way home. A radio ...
user4140's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
22k views

"I have been 'verb-ing'" vs. "I had been 'verb-ing'"

A. I have been studying English for one year. B. I had been studying English for one year. Could one who hears those sentences argue that "A" case implies "and I am still studying it&...
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3 votes
2 answers
19k views

Difference between (was thinking / thought / have thought / had thought)

Consider the following dialogue: A: I think we should go to China for our holiday this year. B: Sorry, what did you say? I was thinking about my work. If I replaced "was thinking" with "...
Kinzle B's user avatar
  • 7,055
2 votes
2 answers
2k views

"It had now been two weeks since he had left the house"

It had now been two weeks since he had left the house. Is this use of since correct? Is the tense of the verb after it correct?
user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
15k views

I -/Have/Had Never Thought Of That?

I am currently a bit confused about the difference between these 3 phrases: I have never thought of that. (present perfect) I had never thought of that. (past perfect) I never thought of that. (past ...
slovakgirl's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
430 views

Simple past vs Perfect Past

A) He was arrested by police. B) He had been arrested by police. In newspaper reporter want to tell about past event that has already happened. In above statements Reporter conveyed same meaning, ...
user4084's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
11k views

Why is this correct? "I met you before you had met her."

I met you before you had met her. I had met you before you met her. I asked a native speaker from America about these two sentences. He said that they are both grammatically correct, but he prefers ...
mosceo's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
369 views

Reasons for these two past perfect tenses

I had once vowed that I would never call her aunt again: I thought it no sin to forget and break that vow now. My fingers had fastened on her hand which lay outside the sheet: had she pressed ...
Listenever's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
1k views

Had been/have been... tenses agreement

Just the other day, I was talking to my mom about how the people who had been brave enough to take part in world war 2 were people we should look up to. Just the other day, I was talking to my mom ...
lekon chekon's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
117 views

How to use "had" correctly in a past perfect paragraph?

Consider the following paragraph: My account was suspended after I used what I believe was an expired confirmation code for changing my payment details. I had not received a confirmation email ...
nangkong's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
194 views

past simple or past perfect why

Please take a look at the sleeve notes of the revolving paint dreams lp "off to heaven"creation lp a great record by the way. The last story I heard that Alan Mc Gee (boss label) had tried to ...
Yves Lefol's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
558 views

Simple past or past perfect with "by" and years

What is the difference between He became a star by 1990's. He had become a star by 1990's. Is the first sentence correct? If yes, then please tell me the difference between the two.
amar singh's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
145 views

I had got to eat burger [closed]

I know "I had had to eat burger" is the "past perfect tense" and "I had to eat burger" is "simple past tense" and we normally not use "got" in the ...
Bilal Zafar's user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
2k views

when to used had been and have been

My friend just answered to one of my important questions. Now how should I reply to him? That question had been in my head for a long time, finally, I got my answer or That question ...
xyz's user avatar
  • 41
-1 votes
2 answers
85 views

did or had done [duplicate]

1a) I didn't know what he did. 1b) I didn't know what he'd done. The context is "He stole from my house, and I didn't know it at the time of speaking" what would I use? Do they both mean the ...
Romy Learner's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
43k views

How to use the past perfect tense with 'until'

Which one is correct? (Or both of them are?) I did not understand until you had explained. I had not understood until you explained. Also, We did not disturb him until he had finished his job....
Damkerng T.'s user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
555 views

Why is the Past Perfect not used here?

A quote from The Innocents Abroad, by Mark Twain: A devout lady who died, left money and contracted for unlimited masses for the repose of her soul, and also stipulated that this lamp should be ...
Igor Skoldin's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
20k views

"Had" vs. "had been"

He had remained president for 20 years and he had done nothing for the benefits of people. He had been remained president for 20 years and he had done nothing for the benefits of people. Are ...
muhammad's user avatar
  • 381
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

They were angry because they had waited (had been waiting) for too long

Inspired by a past-perfect vs. present-perfect online test: They were angry because they had waited for too long. and They were angry because they had been waiting for too long. Are both ...
CowperKettle's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
80k views

"I did try" or "I have tried"?

I was answering a mail from tech support and wanted to tell them that I had already sorted out the problem I intially told them about. I also wanted to emphasize that I had tried the solution ...
MoritzLost's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

after she had her baby; after she had had her baby

Sheila continued to work after she had her baby. (Longman Online) Silvina continued to work after she had had her baby. (Longman Contemporary) I would guess that 1 implies Sheila continued her ...
Listenever's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Confusion with Had+forget

I am confused about the usage of "had" along with "forget". Let's take some serious example. People usually took bath in rivers. Now, they've changed their tradition. I mean, they're bathing in ...
Waffle's Crazy Peanut's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
586 views

Does "before" make the Perfect Tense redundant?

(Sorry for bothering you again with the Perfect Tense, I hope it ends soon.) I took a quiz and a grammar website said that I made a mistake. Right sentence: When I showed up to take a look around, ...
mosceo's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
801 views

At the time of speaking, no relation to present

My friend asked me, "Have you ever paid the money as a penalty?" I paid some money as a penalty, but that was long ago; it won't effect the present. What should I say? I have paid. I had paid. ...
Amish Aa's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
1k views

The order of events when using past perfect

I have a question regarding the order of events when using past perfect.When there are three events I want to describe out of chronological order, will the listener be able to figure out which ...
jess's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
56k views

"My car was breakdown" / "My car had been breakdown"

Today I reached the office late. My boss asked: "why you are late?" I said: “My car had been breakdown near circle." Then boss asked: "Then how you reached office" I said: “I called the mechanic. He ...
user4084's user avatar
  • 2,273
3 votes
1 answer
4k views

past perfect with "by"

In the sentence: By 2008, the percentage of students choosing science subjects had decreased markedly. I've read a grammar textbook and it said, "with BY you will often need to use the past ...
Khanh Tran's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
497 views

Can past tenses in a sentence have different time reference?

Duric Ludokian was a huge wealthy Armenian who had fled from his native country to Russia in 1896 shortly after the first Turkish massacres and pogroms against the Armenian people had begun. He ...
Listenever's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
9k views

"...she had not been attending class" or "...she was not attending class"?

What is the difference between the following two sentences: Betty failed the final test because she had not been attending class. Betty failed the final test because she was not attending ...
Gamal Thomas's user avatar
  • 2,099
2 votes
1 answer
312 views

Past Perfect VS Past Simple in the context of previous experience

I have three extracts: 1st: A: Do you know this man? B: Yes, I had met him before war, but I haven't seen him since that time. 2nd: A: Is he a student? B: Yes, he studies at our ...
Anthony Voronkov's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
499 views

Why is the past perfect is used in this sentence?

Uncle Vernon said sharply, “Don't touch anything he gives you, Dudley.” The giant chuckled darkly. “Yer great puddin’ of a son don’ need fattenin’ anymore, Dursley, don’ worry." He ...
Listenever's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
980 views

Are these sentences that mix different tenses grammatically correct?

There are some phrases English native speakers have sent me in the past and I'm not sure how they can be grammatically correct. I got your order and have processed it. She has agreed to my terms, so ...
Pato's user avatar
  • 423
2 votes
1 answer
918 views

Reference Time, Coordinating Conjunctions and Past Simple/Perfect Tense

This is an exercise from Face2Face English course with the solution provided in the workbook, but with no reasoning. In the exercise below I would like to know (actually confirm mine) the Reference ...
learner's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
499 views

Alluding to already Narrated Past Simple events in Past Perfect

Please, read the following quote: I finally finished tidying about 3 a.m. (after I moved the furniture) and a few minutes later I was fast asleep. I woke up suddenly at 8 a.m. I had arranged to ...
learner's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
2k views

Should this reported speech use "was" or "had been" to convert "was"?

When you have a sentence in the direct speech talking about someone’s age such as “a producer discovered me when I was 13” How does it change into the reported speech? he said a producer had ...
Al Exia's user avatar
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