PAST PERFECT | HAD GONE | HAD DONE | HAD HAD - English Grammar

266

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, youhe, 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 hadI 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'tyou hadn't, he hadn't, she hadn't etc...  

Is it possible to contract differentlyCan 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 sentenceopened and saw. Can you find the past perfect?

Had organized, had eaten.

Two actions, three actionsWhich action happened first?

Had organized, and then I was surprised. Had eatenand 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 sevenshe 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.

Carol didn't know what to do.  

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.

Had had. Had had. HAD HAD!?!?

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 pointthis 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 thatsomeone 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 happyWhy? 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.

Let's get even more specific.

After we'd eaten breakfast, we left for our trip.

We'd eaten breakfast before we left for our tripWe'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 thingI'm just using different vocabulary. When you get  

sentences like this with before, after and thenThe sequence is already clear, the past perfect  

is optional. I could also use the past simplethat's fine. After we ate breakfast, we left for our  

trip. We ate breakfast before we left for our tripWe 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 secondWe also ordered an appetizer? Doesn't she mean,  

we HAD also ordered an appetizerbecause 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 dessertNobody orders an appetizer after dessert.

I know the past perfect can be confusing. Actuallyit'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 yesterdayWe 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!