Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Common Problems (Part 48 of 50)

Use the past tense and past perfect properly. There are two uses for the past perfect tense. They require has or have before the verb, which is the easy way to recognize their use. We often use clue words such as after.

Past perfect shows action completed in the past. What we call the simple past tense means anything that took place before the present. Writers don't seem to have trouble with that. Past perfect means action finished in the past.

For example: I had wanted to study at Yale. That sentence means that in the past I wanted to study at Yale but it's no longer my desire.

Past perfect also shows which previous action took place first.

* After I had eaten breakfast, I went for a walk.

* I visited Africa because I had once lived there.

* I had wanted peace, but I settled for soft noises.

The past perfect tense means action 
completed before the immediate past.

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