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Thread: has vs had

  1. #1
    Ulysses is offline Junior Member
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    has vs had

    What's the difference when I use had and has in the following sentence:

    Sarah has been to Tokyo.
    Sarah had been to Tokyo.

  2. #2
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Re: has vs had

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulysses View Post
    What's the difference when I use had and has in the following sentence:

    Sarah has been to Tokyo.
    Sarah had been to Tokyo.
    It really depends on the context. The first one is in present perfect tense while the second one in the past perfect tense.

    The first one means just that Sarah has been to Tokyo, some unspecified time in the past (and it probably has some present consequences). The second one stresses that Sarah had been to Tokyo prior to something important in time line.
    Let us try to contextualize them:

    - I need a volunteer with some Asia traveling experience, any suggestions?
    - Sarah has (already) been to Tokyo.
    - Oh, really? Have you already been to Tokyo Sarah? When?

    In the context above, one cannot use "had been" instead of "have been".
    Another example:

    - Mark, did you get the promotion?
    - No, unfortunetelly not. The boss promoted only Sarah, since she volunteered today for his new Asia project.
    - Why didn't you volunteer? You are going to Tokyo next month.
    - Well, Sarah had (already) been to Tokyo.

    In this last situation, since Mark is talking about a past situation which happened in his work, Sarah's being to Tokyo became kind of a "past of the past", so the past perfect tense is used.

    PS Not a native speaker

  3. #3
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: has vs had

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulysses View Post
    What's the difference when I use had and has in the following sentence:

    Sarah has been to Tokyo.
    Sarah had been to Tokyo.
    (NOT A TEACHER) (1) Sarah has been to Tokyo. This sentence can stand alone. If you said this sentence to someone, s/he would reply: "Really? Well, that's very interesting." (2) Sarah had been to Tokyo. If you said this to someone, s/he would ask, "Before what?" You would then have to answer: Sarah had been to Tokyo before she went on to Taipei.

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