I (had) studied a little bit before the exam

boggiee

Senior Member
Turkish
Hi,

Let's assume that today is 14th April and the exam was on April 10th. And I say:

- However, I studied a little bit before the exam.

- However, I had studied a little bit before the exam.

I know there are so many questions and answers regarding to simple and past perfect, however I could not find any proper answer for my concern. In my opinion, we can use both - simple past and past perfect- in such a situation although the exam was taken. What do you think?

Thanks.
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    The decision about this choice always depends on the context of the whole paragraph.
    If you are trying to show a sequence you use the past perfect, if not you stick with the simple past.

    You need to tell us the rest of your paragraph.
     

    boggiee

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    The decision about this choice always depends on the context of the whole paragraph.
    If you are trying to show a sequence you use the past perfect, if not you stick with the simple past.

    You need to tell us the rest of your paragraph.
    I was just able to tried to create such a sentence, that is to say that I have only one sentence, not a full paragraph. However, I will try to establish a context:

    For example:

    Alice: How was your exam? Did it go well?

    Me: Yes, it did although I (had) studied a little bit before the exam.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    My answer is still the same. If you do not have a real context you cannot know which one is the best option, since both are possible.

    The dialogue you have proposed is not really viable because you use 'although' incorrectly. We use although to introduce a contrary idea. Leaving that aside ..... you can use 'had studied' here because the end of the sentence introduces the sequence of it being something you did before the exam.

    The key thing to remember with this tense is both things happened in the past, but one happened before the other. There has to be a sequence.

    The plants grew after I HAD planted them.
     

    boggiee

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    The dialogue you have proposed is not really viable because you use 'although' incorrectly. We use although to introduce a contrary idea.
    Sorry but I could not understand this point. What I have learnt from dictionaries that we can use 'although' as ''used to introduce a statement that makes your main statement seem surprising or unlikely (http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/though_1)''. Of course, I know we can use it in the meaning of 'but'.

    Alice: How was your exam? Did it go well?

    Me: Yes, it did although I (had) studied a little bit before the exam.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Using your own point that "although" can be used to introduce a surprising idea, it is not surprising that your exam went well if you had studied beforehand.

    If you want to emphasise that you had not studied very much (and therefore it was surprising that the exam went well) you can make it work by adding the word only:

    Yes it did, although I had only studied a little bit before the exam.:tick:
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top