Friday, December 5, 2014

Past Perfect Tense (Part 2 of 9)

Most writers have little trouble with the present, future, or simple past tense. However, the past perfect seems to bewilder many.

1. The past perfect tense refers to action done in the past.

* They had cashed their checks before they bought groceries. (Cashing checks was completed before they spent the money.)

* After we had mixed the formula, we waited for it to cool.

2. The past perfect tense can refer to action completed but it also relates to the present.

* I had been preparing for my speech when Jason knocked.

* By the time Eldon resigned, he had already prepared the next marketing strategy.

Another way to say it is that past perfect describes an action that was completed before another past action took place. We always indicate past perfect with a helping verb, has or had.

When I refer to a completed action of the past, 
I remember to use has or had.

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Cecil Murphey's Writer to Writer Conference will be held January 16-18, 2015, at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA, prior to the Munce Group Christian Product Expo (CPE). Faculty includes Cec, Jerry Jenkins, and Shawn and Suzanne Kuhn (SuzyQ). For more information, visit

1 comment:

  1. I never thought about it this way before but "perfect" means complete in the eyes of God and in the Bible, so it is the same with past "perfect," in that the action was completed in the past.


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