PAST PERFECT | HAD GONE | HAD DONE | HAD HAD - English Grammar
Hi guys! I'm Arnel and today we're going to look at the past perfect
and I'll answer some of the most common questions you have about this tense.
You know, we can't speak about the past perfect without looking at
the past simple. So in today's lesson you're going to see a lot of both.
So let's start with the basics, and i will get more specific as the lesson continues.
You can see here I have two verbs I have a regular verb and an irregular verb.
To form the past simple we need verb number two. For example, I walked to work.
For the past perfect we need had plus the past participle verb number three, I had walked to work.
The good news is when it comes to the past simple and the past perfect, the verb forms never change.
So it doesn't matter what your subject is. I, you, he, she, it. The verb forms always stay the same.
I'd walked. You'd walked. He'd, she'd, it'd, they'd, we'd. If you want to sound natural, contract. And be careful!
If you see I'd plus the infinitive, verb number one, you know I'd is I would. I would walk to
work. If you have that past participle, it's had, I had walked to work. So would has nothing to do
with the past perfect, but I just wanted to show you that I'd can mean I had or I would.
To contract the negative: I hadn't, you hadn't, he hadn't, she hadn't etc...
Is it possible to contract differently? Can i say, I'd not walked to work?
Yes you can say that, it's correct, but hadn't is more common. I hadn't walked to work.
Here i have two timelines. They're both in the past, not the present, the past.
I was surprised that someone had organized my desk for me.
I opened my fridge and saw that my roommate had eaten a piece of my cake.
Can you find the past simple? First sentence, was. Surprise looks like a verb,
it's an adjective. In my second sentence, opened and saw. Can you find the past perfect?
Two actions, three actions. Which action happened first?
Had organized, and then I was surprised. Had eaten, and then I opened my fridge, and then I saw this.
We use the past perfect to speak about an earlier past, a past before another past. The past perfect
is always the first action. It doesn't matter if the past perfect comes first in your sentence,
or later on, everyone knows the past perfect happened first. Let's do a little comparison.
When i got home my cat ate her food. Meow meow.
When I got home my cat had eaten her food. The two sentences look very similar. In my first sentence
it's clear that first I got home, and then my cat ate dinner. But the past perfect is very powerful...
In the second sentence, first, my cat ate her dinner, then I got home.
So, why do we do this? Why do we have this
past before the past? There are actually three common reasons.
Number one: We're describing an action or situation that happened up to another point in
time. By the time Georgina was seven, she had been to five countries.
Until Paula met Bruce, she had never been in love.
Number two: We're explaining a past situation using an earlier past. I didn't want to watch the movie.
Why? Because i had already seen it.
Why? Because she hadn't received instructions from her boss. Hadn't, noticed the contraction.
Number three: To show surprise.
I woke up and saw that someone had drawn a mustache on my face .
What's a mustache? A mustache is one of these!
Yesterday i had an appointment with my accountant,
I was an hour late. By the time I arrived, my accountant had had three espressos, that's a lot.
How do we form the past perfect? Had plus past participle.
Double had. I was in a terrible mood because I had had a terrible day. Wait wait wait wait!
Because I'd had a terrible day.
And a lot of times you won't even notice the, had had, because of that contraction.
So yes, had had does exist and is perfectly correct .
Do I always need the past perfect with the past simple?
No, you need a past reference point, this could be the past continuous.
Elena was crying in the bathroom because someone had made fun of her clothes.
We see she was crying, before that, someone had made fun of her clothes. So
the past perfect must be used with another action, it cannot be used alone.
And you might not remember but earlier in the lesson
I said: the past perfect must be used with another action, it cannot be used alone.
Let's take a look at a mini conversation:
Well, the client wants a full refund. A refund is when you need to give all the money back
because a client or a customer is not happy. Why? You delivered the project two weeks late.
Two weeks late? But we'd already agreed on that, he knew we needed more time!
Here you can see, we'd already agreed on that, is alone in the sentence - but in the context of the
conversation there's a connection. Now in the present, the client wants a refund. Before that,
the project was delivered. Before that we'd already agreed on something.
So sometimes someone will show me a sentence and ask, why is the past perfect used? Is it correct?
I don't know, I need a bit more information.
So if you're watching a movie, or you're reading something, listening to a podcast, and you hear the
past perfect - try to connect it to something else in the past, because there's a reason it's used.
After we'd eaten breakfast, we left for our trip.
We'd eaten breakfast before we left for our trip. We'd eaten breakfast and then we left for our trip.
After, before, and then. I think those words already make the sequence clear don't they?
In these sentences they all mean the same thing, I'm just using different vocabulary. When you get
sentences like this with before, after and then. The sequence is already clear, the past perfect
is optional. I could also use the past simple, that's fine. After we ate breakfast, we left for our
trip. We ate breakfast before we left for our trip. We ate breakfast and then, we left for our trip.
When the sequence of events is already clear, we don't need the
past perfect. And in spoken English especially, we like to simplify things.
My husband and i went to a fancy restaurant for our anniversary. We had a main course and a dessert.
We also ordered an appetizer. Hey, wait a second! We also ordered an appetizer? Doesn't she mean,
we HAD also ordered an appetizer, because it came before the main course?
So, let's look at that vocabulary. If you go to a nice restaurant, the appetizer is always the
first thing you have. So even though I said, we also ordered an appetizer, it's clear it came
before the main course, before the dessert. Nobody orders an appetizer after dessert.
I know the past perfect can be confusing. Actually, it's really easy, it's the past before the other
past. Oh well, the past perfect is also used in reported speech, the third conditional and wish.
Don't worry, you do not need to know all of these structures today.
But it's good to see them. Reported speech: I left work early yesterday.
Bill told me that he'd left work early yesterday. We use the past perfect to report the past simple.
Third conditional: If I had checked my schedule more carefully, i wouldn't have missed the meeting.
You can check out my conditional video here.
Wish. I wish i had apologized to Michael. Use wish plus past perfect to speak about a past regret.
Can you give me any examples? Let me know in the comments below
of something you did before something else you did. I can't wait to see you soon, thank you bye!