Thursday, April 9, 2009

Past Perfect Tense--In Question-Answer Form

What is the verb-form in Past Perfect Tense?

The verb-form is had + past participle of the lexical verb The auxiliary had does not change according to the number , person or gender of the subject as in some European languages

What is the context for using Past Perfect Tense?

Past Perfect Tense is used when there are two past actions in the sentence. One of these two actions is earlier than the other The earlier action is put in the Past Perfect Tense and the later action is put in the Simple Past Have a look at this sentence:

When the police arrived on the scene, the thief had escaped

The two actions are arrived and escaped The earlier action , escaped, is put in the Past Perfect Tense.The later action , arrived , is put in Simple Past. See other examples:

* When I reached his house . he had already left for Bangalore.

*When the doctor arrived , the patient had already died.

*When I reached the station . the train had already left.

Please note that the adverb already is used to emphasize the time-gap between the two actions .

If the conjunction before is used , is Past Perfect a must?

Past Perfect is not strictly required when the time-gap between the two actions is already indicated with the conjunction before The use of Past Perfect would be redundant.But languages do not always follow logic! Usage justifies the use of Past Perfect even when conjunction before is present in the sentence See the example :

He met her several times before he married her

When be is used what is the verb_form?

The Past Participle form of be is been Therefore , the verb-form would be had + been Example

He had been a movie actor before he became the President

Enough for Past Perfect! Bye-bye till the next post

Thank you

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