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Plus-que-parfait - cours
While most of you, I am sure, are familiar with the Simple Past Tense, many perhaps are unfamiliar or may have a problem in understanding the Past Perfect Tense.
So now the million-dollar question is: when do we use the past perfect tense and how do we write it?
For this let's consider the following situation:
Say with the intention of going to the movies I reach a film theatre at 6.00 PM. To my disappointment I find that the movie I so badly wished to enjoy actually had begun at 5.30PM. So, I obviously was late. Suppose this is described by using the sentence:
I reached the theatre, the film began.
Now if observed carefully there is a problem with the above sentence. Two actions have been reported that have occurred in the past.
I reached the film theatre. (ACTION ONE)
The film began. (ACTION TWO)
Now the problem with this sentence is it has not been made clear which action occurred first and which next. Or if you look at the meaning conveyed you are unclear whether I reached earlier or the film began earlier.
This is where the Past Perfect Tense comes in.
It is used to talk of the action that occurred FIRST in the PAST. To make things crystal given a situation wherein in two actions have occurred in the past then we use the Past Perfect Tense to talk of the action which occurred FIRST in the PAST and the Simple Past Tense to talk of the action which occurred SECOND in the PAST.
So fine! Now the issue is how is one to write the Past Perfect Tense?
The answer is simple. Merely use Had + V3! The good news is this 'had' is the same for all --- whatever be the person or the number of people or things involved. So, it is I had, you had, we had, he had, it had, Peter had,Peter and Jacob had and so on and so forth. Great, right?
Ok having learnt this let us make the sentence reporting the situation I have already mentioned in this lesson correctly.
Since I reached the film theatre late it obviously is the SECOND ACTION and I need to use the SIMPLE PAST TENSE to describe it!
Again,since the action of the film beginning happened FIRST in the PAST and I need to use the PAST PERFECT TENSE to describe it.
So the sentence to sound meaningful should, in the fitness of things, read:
I reached (SECOND ACTION--SIMPLE PAST TENSE) the film theatre but the film had begun (FIRST ACTION--PAST PERFECT TENSE).
No prizes for guessing which ACTION took place FIRST and which the SECOND in the PAST if I reframe my sentence and write thus:
I had reached the film theatre, when the film began.
Now I hope you are all braced up for a quiz on the Past Perfect Tense.
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