I'm very confused about when can I use the Past Perfect.
Above all, there's a lot of tenses and I'm a little bit confused about when can I use each one...
Someone can help me please?
Thanks a lot!
usually we use it with past simple, e.g. I had done the washing-up before I left the flat. you want to stress that you did not forget to do the washing-up before you left home.
we often use it with "never... before", like I had never seen such a film before (you tell this after watching the movie). in general, the use of past perfect is not very common.
about the usage of tenses (basically):
present simple: for habits, timetable activites
present continuous: at-the-moment activities, near-future plans, annoying habits (with always/constantly), temporary habits
present perfect: when the activity started in the past and is still going on, when the past activity has an effect/result in the present
present perfect continuous: when the continuity of the above mentioned activity matters and not the result
past simple: activity happened in the past
past continuous: past activity around a certain point of time or parallel activities in the past
past perfect: to stress a past activity that happened before another past activity
past perfect continuous: a past activity before another one and its continuity matters
future simple: spontaneous activity in the future
future continuous: a future activity around a certain future point of time
future perfect: by a future point of time, an activity will be finished
that's it, though i must say that half of these are more than enough to express what you want.
To help you understand and practice the past perfect tense, you ought to know that present perfect happens to occur with the past simple, normally in sentences containing two actions (verbs). One of the actions takes place in time before the other one.
Yesterday you arrived home at 6 pm.
Yesterday your dad left home at 5:30 pm.
The two actions took place yesterday, but one of them (leaving) happened and was perfect before the other action started (arriving)
Imagine a timeline of the past, put the actions on it in there actual sequence and you'll find yourself saying / or writing:
Yesterday, I arrived home after my dad had left. OR
My dad had (already) left hone when I arrived. OR
My dad had left before I arrived home yesterday.
This is my first participation in answering others' questions. I hope you find it helpful.
The PAST PERFECT is used when we wish to say that some action had been completed before another was commenced. The verb expressing the previous action is put into PAST PERFECT TENSE and the subsequent action is put into SIMPLE PAST.
Previous action(past perfect) Subsequent action(simple past)
1. The train had left before I arrived.
2. I had finished my work before you came.
3. The rain had stopped when she arrived.