have been or had been??

Julieblue9

New Member
Mexico - Spanish
Could someone please tell me when to use present perfect tense and when to use past perfect tense?? It's really confused to me :confused:

Thanks! :)

PS. Please correct me if I wrote something wrong...
 
  • ceirun

    Senior Member
    UK / English
    Hola Julie:

    La diferencia entre esos dos tiempos verbales es esencialmente la misma que existe entre sus respectivos tiempos en español, o sea, el presente perfecto y el pluscuamperfecto.
    Te pongo unos ejemplitos:

    el pluscuamperfecto / the past perfect
    Cuando llegué a casa mi mamá ya había salido - When I arrived home my mum had already left

    el presente perfecto / the present perfect
    No he comido nada hoy - I haven't eaten anything today.

    Espero que esto te ayude un poquito. Seguro que alguien más va a poder explicártelo mejor.

    ¡Saludos!
     

    finol11

    Member
    U.S.A. English
    Julieblue9 said:
    Could someone please tell me when to use present perfect tense and when to use past perfect tense?? It's really confused to me :confused:

    Thanks! :)

    PS. Please correct me if I wrote something wrong...
    Julie,
    The present perfect tense is often used for an action which started at some time in the past, and is still continuing now. Often, the words for (with a length of time) and since (with a starting time) are used along with the present perfect.

    We often use the words already, yet, ever or never along with the present perfect. These words usually go before the past participle in the sentence. (Have you ever been to Venezuela? Have you already learned French?)

    The present perfect tense is formed by using have/has + the past participle.

    Past perfect tense is a bit different. It is often used in relating two events which happened in the past. It is formed by using had + past participle. (My flight had landed by the time my friend arrived at the airport.)

    Also, in Spanish, the past perfect (o sea el pluscuamperfecto) can be used in the subjunctive mood by preceding the past participle with the imperfect subjunctive of haber (No creo que ella huberia estudiado) (I don't believe that she had studied)

    Que CHEVERE!
     

    Julieblue9

    New Member
    Mexico - Spanish
    Thanks very much to all fo you :) I think I've got the main idea about the difference between this tenses... but I'm still confused in cases like the following example :eek:

    When Jack entered the room, I didn't recognize him because he had lost so much weight and grown a beard. He looked totally different!

    1. Couldn't it be correct if I write: "he has lost so much weight"? (I mean how do you know that he isn't still loosing weight?)
    2. Why ..."and grown a beard" and not "had grown a beard"?
    3. Is "ha perdido mucho peso" the correct translation for "have lost so much weight"? and "había perdido mucho peso" the translation for "had lost so much weight"?

    Hope you can help me!
    Gracias!!! :D
     

    garryknight

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Julieblue9 said:
    When Jack entered the room, I didn't recognize him because he had lost so much weight and grown a beard. He looked totally different!

    1. Couldn't it be correct if I write: "he has lost so much weight"? (I mean how do you know that he isn't still loosing weight?)
    2. Why ..."and grown a beard" and not "had grown a beard"?
    3. Is "ha perdido mucho peso" the correct translation for "have lost so much weight"? and "había perdido mucho peso" the translation for "had lost so much weight"?
    1. You wouldn't write "he has lost so much weight" because you've already written "When Jack entered the room" which is in the preterite tense, and that has to be followed by the pluperfect tense, i.e. "had lost".

    2. The sentence means "had lost weight" and "had grown a beard". The "had" before "grown" is omitted and the "had" before "lost" does double duty; in other words it qualifies both "lost" and "grown". [I'm not sure if 'qualifies' is the correct word to use here, but if you're still not sure what I mean, just let me know.]

    3. Yes, you got them both right. The way to remember it is that if in Spanish you would use 'he/has/ha/hemos... + participio pasado' then in English you say 'has + past participle'. And if in Spanish you would use either 'había/habías/había/habíamos... + participio pasado' or 'hube/hubiste/hubo/hubimos... + participio pasado' then in English you say "had + past participle'. So, present tense of haber equals 'has' and imperfect tense of haber or preterite tense of haber = 'had'. Examples:
    Ha perdido tanto peso = He has lost so much weight
    Había perdido tanto peso = He had lost so much weight
    Hubo perdido tanto peso = He had lost so much weight

    Espero haber aclarar las cosas.
     

    funnydeal

    Senior Member
    Mexico / Español
    Julieblue9 said:
    Thanks very much to all fo you :) I think I've got the main idea about the difference between this tenses... but I'm still confused in cases like the following example :eek:

    When Jack entered the room, I didn't recognize him because he had lost so much weight and grown a beard. He looked totally different!

    1. Couldn't it be correct if I write: "he has lost so much weight"? (I mean how do you know that he isn't still loosing weight?)

    2. Why ..."and grown a beard" and not "had grown a beard"?

    3. Is "ha perdido mucho peso" the correct translation for "have lost so much weight"? and "había perdido mucho peso" the translation for "had lost so much weight"?

    Hope you can help me!
    Gracias!!! :D
    1.- If he is still losing weight, I would say (using the perfect tense):
    "he has been losing weight" (Present perfect continuous tense)

    2.- Because you have used "had" = had lost so much weight and grown
    (it is not necessary to repeat the auxiliary verb) . We do the same in Spanish "El ha perdido mucho peso y dejado su barba". Another example, "He comido y dormido mucho"

    3.- "have lost so much weight" = ha perdido mucho peso, but as you are talking of "he" it must be "has lost so much weight", and the translation for "had lost so much weight" = había (had=past) perdido mucho peso
     

    garryknight

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Julieblue9 said:
    (I mean how do you know that he isn't still loosing weight?)
    When I made my earlier post, I forgot that you'd asked this question. My answer would be that you don't know that he isn't still losing weight. All you know is that he had lost weight at the time the speaker saw him. He might have put on a lot of weight at the time the speaker tells you about it.

    Imagine that it's 2001 and Jack walks into a room he looks so thin that it's obvious that he has lost weight. Four years later someone asks you if you've seen Jack recently. You say that he came round to see you four years ago, and you add: "When Jack entered the room, I didn't recognize him because he had lost so much weight and grown a beard. He looked totally different!". Of course, that was four years ago, so not only do you not know if he's still losing weight, you also don't know if he's gained a couple of hundred pounds.

    Maybe that's why you'd say "had lost weight".
     

    Julieblue9

    New Member
    Mexico - Spanish
    Hey! I think I got it! :idea: it is so much easier to understand something if people who try to help me use examples in Spanish too, thank you again and take care ;)
     

    garryknight

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Julieblue9 said:
    it is so much easier to understand something if people who try to help me use examples in Spanish too
    What? In a Spanish forum??? ;)
    Tu inglés es tan bueno y contiene tan pocos errores que creía que bastaría una respuesta en inglés. Sin embargo, entiendo el porqué y intentaré a recordarlo. :)
     

    Julieblue9

    New Member
    Mexico - Spanish
    Thank you Garry but I think you are right, I should try to understand in English without examples in Spanish, that way I can improve my English faster, don't you think??

    So keep helping me in English please ;) and please please please let me know if I write something wrong :warn: ...

    Thank u very much :)
     
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