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Thread: Past Perfect

  1. #1
    Dany's Avatar
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    Default Past Perfect

    Hello everyone,

    Why can't I use in the following sentence the Past Perfect?

    "What did you do before you came here?"

    He came here in the past, and I want to know what he had done before that time.
    Do you understand what I mean ?


    Thanks in advance,
    Dany

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    Default Re: Past Perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by Dany
    Hello everyone,

    Why can't I use in the following sentence the Past Perfect?

    "What did you do before you came here?"

    He came here in the past, and I want to know what he had done before that time.
    Do you understand what I mean ?


    Thanks in advance,
    Dany
    Hi Dany,
    Well Dany who says you can't use the perfect tense here. i think you can say " what had you done before you came here?" i find it grammatically correct.

  3. #3
    Dany's Avatar
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    Default Re: Past Perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by Reemy
    Hi Dany,
    Well Dany who says you can't use the perfect tense here. i think you can say " what had you done before you came here?" i find it grammatically correct.
    My teacher said it to me, but unfortunately she couldn't give me an explanation.
    She said that it was logical to use the Past Perfect, but it was not correct.

    That's why I asked here. Are you really sure that the Past Perfect works here?
    Now, I'm really confused


    Best regards,
    Dany

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    Default Re: Past Perfect

    It seems to me to be similar to difference between Simple Past and Present Perf.
    Saying "What did you do before you came here?" you mean you don't want to know what he or she have done. You don't wonder about result(s) of that doing. There might be no any results at all to be mentioned. You're just asking what he or she was doing before.

    Try to feel the difference:
    He bought a new car as he had broken his old one.
    The fact of breaking the car is MATTER in this context. That's why I've used Past Perf

    Doctor came after patient had died
    Here it is again - we're considering fact of doctor's coming in context of patient's dying.

    Hope it's gonna clarify your issue ;)

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Past Perfect

    Sorry, but I don't understand whether it is correct to use Past Perfect or not.

    Please help me

  6. #6
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Past Perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by Dany
    Sorry, but I don't understand whether it is correct to use Past Perfect or not.

    Please help me
    You can use it:

    What had you done before you came here?

    This is grammatically correct. However, I wouldn't use it iftalkingto a friend who'd just arrived at my house. I would use it to someone who has started a new job or moved to a new town.

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    Default Re: Past Perfect

    Hello Dany,
    I am sure 100% of my answer. don't get confused..i've studied this material in university. You may refer to "University Grammar of English" by Randolph Quirk & Sidney Greenbaum. P.339 , 11.49. in this section you can see examples using "after" with the past perfect, and we were taught that it is possible to do the same with "before". i'm sure that the usage is correct.
    Last edited by Reemy; 05-Feb-2005 at 17:08.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Past Perfect

    Thanks to all


    Have a nice day,
    Dany

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    Dandelion is offline Member
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    Default Re: Past Perfect

    The past perfect expresses an activity that was completed before another activity or time in the past.

    Everyone had spoken by the time I arrived.
    Everyone had spoken by 10 a.m.

    If either before or after is used in the sentence, the past perfect is not necessary because the time relationship is already clear. The two sentences below have the same meaning and both are grammatically correct.

    Sam left before Ann got there.
    Sam had left before Ann got there.

    Hope this helps.

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    Default Re: Past Perfect

    Welcome, aaa.

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