Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Past Perfect and past perfect progressive tense forms and meanings

Past Perfect
   · is used to express actions in ‘if clauses that did not take place:
            If you had listened to me, you could’ve avoided mistakes.
           (=You didn’t listen to me and so you couldn’t avoid making mistakes.)

              If you’d explained your problem to your boss, he’d have understood it.
              (=you didn’t explain your problem to your boss and so he didn’t understand it.)

              If she hadn’t married him, she’d be living now.
              (=She married him and now she is no more.)      

   · expresses unrealized hope or wish:
            I had hoped we would be able to leave tomorrow but I have an emergency operation.
            I had intended to see my mother but I have to stay back and finish my report.
            I wish I had taken your advice. [ But I did not]
            We had expected you to stay at least a week [But you are not]       
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Past Perfect Progressive
This expresses
1. duration of past actions:
        It was getting dark and he was exhausted because he had been digging since
                morning. 

2. repeated past actions:
                He had been trying to get on the phone, but he was unsuccessful.

3. duration of actions earlier than the completed ones:
                When I opened the door I found him on his knees outside. I knew
                he had been looking through the keyhole.
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