In Grammar By Alexandra

Past Perfect Tense — past perfect tense in English

Imagine that you need to talk about some important events in your life. When you become committed to describe the events is not always your story will be a clear chronology of actions. We often begin with the story of the events preceding and then describe come back to later actions. In the Russian language in this story, we use only one time elapsed, but the English-speaking peoples are much more logical, therefore, to describe the earliest action in the English language there is a special time Past Perfect Tense.

As forms Past Perfect: rules and examples

Education Past Perfect Tense is done by an auxiliary verb had (the third form of the verb to have) all persons and numbers and meaning of the verb in the third form (for regular verbs — infinitive + the ending ed; for irregular verbs — the third column of the table of irregular verbs in English language):

  • I had worked. — I worked.
  • He had worked. — He worked.
  • She had written. — She wrote.
  • They had worked. — It worked.
  • You had written. — You wrote.

In the Past Perfect interrogative sentences are formed according to the following rule: you must put the auxiliary verb before the subject:

  • Had you worked? — You worked?
  • When had you written the letter? — When you write a letter?

For the formation of the negative forms of time use Past Perfect negative particle not, which is placed immediately after the auxiliary verb:

  • I had not worked. — I have not worked.
  • We had not written. — We have not written.

As an abbreviated form used ‘d and had not:

  • I’d worked.
  • He’d worked.
  • I had not worked.

Use of Past Perfect: offers examples

As I wrote in previous articles, the more complex it seems British time at first sight, the more limited its use and that is clear from the context that it is necessary to use it. All of this is directly related to the time of Past Perfect Tense.

We will allocate two main features of the past perfect tense in English. Let us consider several expressions when used Past Perfect:

  1. Time Past Perfect is used to express an action that occurred before a certain point in the past. This point can be illustrated with an accurate indication of time or with another action. To specify the duration of the most commonly used marker of time by this / that time (this / the time): by 3 o’clock, by the end of June, by Tuesday.

    By the end of the year she had learned to cook. — By the end of the year, she learned to cook.

    I had finished the project by the beginning of that week. — By the beginning of the week I finished the project.

    If the time is expressed in the past by another action, it is in a sentence usually is a time Past Simple, as part of a complex sentence connected by unions when, before, after, until, as soon as, by the time and so forth.

    We carefully studied the information you had sent. — We have carefully studied the information you sent.

    Fortunately the rain had stopped before we left the house. — Fortunately, the rain stopped before we left.

    After the boss had left, the employees began to talk. — After the chief left, the workers began to talk.

    By the time I came home my family had already finished dinner. — By the time I came home, my family had dinner.

    To properly arrange the time of such proposals have to think, what kind of action has happened before. That it will stand in the Past Perfect.

    Only when I came to work I understood that I had forgotten to feed the cat. — Only when I came to work, I realized that I forgot to feed the cat. (I forgot to feed the first, then came to and realized).

    When the guests had gone, I began to wash the dishes. — When the guests are gone, I started to wash the dishes. (First, the guests are gone, then I began to wash the dishes. Union when in this case is comparable to the Union after).

    Over time, the Past Perfect in this function are used and the usual «perfect» Adverbs: never, yet, already, just:

    We had not yet started following the new instructions when they changed them again. — We have not yet started execution of new instructions on how to change them again.

    He had never been kind to me until that day. — Until the day he never showed me kindness.

    Please note that if several actions in the past are listed in chronological order, is used Past Simple, not the Past Perfect. Compare two examples:

    I took my raincoat and umbrella and went out. As I was going to the hospital, it began to rain. — I took a raincoat and an umbrella and went outside. When I went to the hospital, it began to rain. (actions in chronological order)

    As I was going to the hospital, it began to rain. Luckily, I had taken my raincoat and umbrella before I went out. — When I went to the hospital, it began to rain. Fortunately, I took a raincoat and an umbrella before it went out. (procedure violated)

  2. Time Past Perfect Tense is used to transmit an action that started in the past and lasted before or during other time in the past. This is a normal function of time Past Perfect Continuous, Past Perfect but takes it on himself in the following three cases:
    • With verbs state, which can not be used in times of group Continuous.

      This castle had belonged to our family until the war. — Before the war, the castle belonged to our family.

    • In negative sentences, when denied the action itself.

      I got to know that Mary and Jacob had not met since our wedding. — I found out that Mary and Jacob had not seen since our wedding.

    • With dynamic verbs, transmitting long-term effect (to live, to work, to study, to travel, to last and so forth.)

      Our friendship had lasted for many years, when we suddenly quarreled. — Our friendship lasted for many years, when we suddenly had a falling out.

    As you can see from the examples in this function is often used «perfect» adverbs for, and since.

  3. Expressions, which is used during Past Perfect. Time Past Perfect involved in the formation of structures that have an unusual translation into Russian. Once acquainted with such offers, you will always remember how to translate them correctly.
    • If the time of Past Perfect Tense is used in the main part of a complex sentence in the negative, and the union clause is introduced when, such a proposal would have the following meanings:

      I had not driven a hundred metres from the airport when I heard a terrible sound of explosion. — I do not have time to travel a hundred meters away from the airport, I heard a terrible sound of an explosion.

      He had not said a few words when somebody interrupted him. — Before he could utter a few words, someone interrupted him.

      As can be seen from the examples of this type of offer are translated using the phrase «did not have time, andlike … ‘, although the English proposal did not have these words.

    • If the action of one part of a complex sentence is not completely ended the action of the other part, and union time stands before, the translation is as follows:

      I had not been at the theatre for half an hour before I understood that the play was boring. — Less than half an hour, I was in the theater, as I realized that the play was boring.

      The tourists had not walked a hundred metres before the guide decided to change the route. — Tourists have not been hundreds of meters, as a guide decided to change the route. (Do not have time to pass the tourists and hundreds of meters …)

      I found out the truth before I had been among the family for two weeks. — Less than two weeks to communicate with this family, I learned the truth.

      Proposals of this type are translated phrases «not passedand how,» «did not have timeand how.»

    • The proposals with the unions scarcely … when, hardly … when, nearly … when, and no sooner … than time Past Perfect is in the main clause, and time Past Simple — in a subordinate clause. The translation uses the word «almost», «only» or the phrase «not in time … like …».

      He had hardly left the building when a guard called him. — He barely got out of the building, as it is called a guard.

      We had scarcely finished dinner when Lily brought a big cake. — But we finished dinner, Lily brought a big cake.

      These proposals are reinforcing, emphatic character, so they often found inversion (violation of the order of words):

      No sooner had the rain stopped than a strong wind started to blow. — As soon as the rain stops, like a strong wind it began.

      Hardly had I upgraded the computer when a new software version appeared. — Before I update the computer as a new version of the program.

This topic is closely related to the other as described in the articles that need to pay attention:

  • «Elapsed time in the English language»
  • «Time Past Simple (simple past tense)»
  • «Time Past Continuous (Past a long time)»
  • «Time Past Perfect Continuous»

After reading them, we recommend to pass the following test: «test group times Past».



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