What does this perfect tense intended to say?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Listenever, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. Listenever

    Listenever Senior Member

    Quirrell's voice trailed away. Harry was remembering his trip to Diagon Alley - how could he have been so stupid? He'd seen Quirrell there that very day, shaken hands with him in the Leaky Cauldron. (Harry Potter)

    What does the perfect tense intend to say?
  2. Franco-filly Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - Southern England
    "How could he have been so stupid?" is referring to the past when he was in Diagon Alley, and means "Why did he allow himself to act in such a stupid manner" at that time.

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