"We were too late. The train had left." [past perfect]

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semeeran

Senior Member
Indian Tamil, India
1a. The house burned to the ground.
1b. The house had burned to the ground.
2a. All her hair had been burnt away.
2b. All her hair were burnt away.
Is it good to use past participle in the above sentences?
Usually past participle is used if there are main and dependent clauses.
Please comment.
Thanks.
 
  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese

    semeeran

    Senior Member
    Indian Tamil, India
    I have been taught as below:
    A Past Perfect Sentence =>
    Distant past event(in perfect) + Recent past event(in past).
    Example :
    "We were too late. The train had left." (Past Perfect)
    Please clarify to me with your explanation.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, the clause with the past perfect occurred before the clause in the past tense.

    Clause 1: We were too late. (Happened in the past, say we arrived at the station at 9.00am today.)
    Clause 2: The train had left. (Happened before Clause 1, say at 8.55am today.)
     

    semeeran

    Senior Member
    Indian Tamil, India
    Can we say, "The house had burned to the ground." without recent or distant past event?
    Please clarify it.
    Thanks.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Most of the time, no. You need to compare the clause with the past perfect to something else that happened after that. Sometimes, what happened after that is implied or unspoken - but it needs to be there. If it isn't you should just use the simple past or the present perfect.
     
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