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past perfect Options
Ivan Fadeev
Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 4:09:15 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/21/2015
Posts: 366
Neurons: 6,071
I was wondering if it's OK to use PAST PERFECT in the following situations.

1) I hadn’t used a hammer before working in construction. (this must be correct)

Let's say that I am having a lesson and I am asked about how many lessons I had before this one. Would it be possible to answer?

2) I had had two lessons before starting this one.
thar
Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 4:35:00 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 19,686
Neurons: 79,469
if you are starting a lesson now, that is the present perfect.
I have had two lessons before this one.
I've had two lessons.

there is no past event you are looking back from.
That fact is true up to this present point.



if you are talking about some lesson in the past, it is past perfect
Last year I had a lesson where the instructor told me I was brilliant.
I had had two lessons before that one.
I'd had two lessons.


You are looking back from a past event.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 4:37:29 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 32,592
Neurons: 199,873
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hi Ivan.

Technically, it's correct, but it's not very common to use it like that (only because there are simpler ways to say it.

My 'method' to check the past perfect is to list out the times of 'occurrences'. If there are two separate past incidents or times, then usually the past perfect works.

1. I had some lessons (past)
2. I started this lesson (past)
3. I am still having this lesson (present)
So you can use the past perfect for #1.
I'd had two lessons before starting this one.

EDITED to add: (This is so unlikely that thar didn't even think of it as a possibility)

**************
I think the more normal wording would omit any mention of #2, so we would only have ONE past occurrence.
1. I had some lessons (past)
2. I am having this lesson (present)

I had two lessons before this one. or I've had two lessons before this one.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
ozok
Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 4:41:24 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/24/2018
Posts: 368
Neurons: 2,012

What I've heard people say:

This will be my third lessen.




just sayin'
Ivan Fadeev
Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 10:06:34 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/21/2015
Posts: 366
Neurons: 6,071
ozok wrote:

What I've heard people say:

This will be my third lessen.



Indeed, that is PAST PERFECT.
Ivan Fadeev
Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 10:08:23 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/21/2015
Posts: 366
Neurons: 6,071
I understand, in that case, why does the example with a hammer work? It is from a dictionary.
NKM
Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 11:57:32 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/14/2015
Posts: 5,138
Neurons: 299,169
Location: Corinth, New York, United States
Ivan Fadeev wrote:
I understand, in that case, why does the example with a hammer work? It is from a dictionary.

══════════════════════════════════════════════

It means "At some time in the past, I worked in construction. I had never used a hammer before that time."

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 12:19:19 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 32,592
Neurons: 199,873
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Yes - NKM's right.
The 'occurrences' are
1. Didn't use a hammer (past)
2. worked in construction (past)
3. look back and speak about it (present)

So the first one (not using a hammer) can use past perfect.

I hadn't used a hammer before I worked in construction.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Ivan Fadeev
Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2019 5:54:08 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/21/2015
Posts: 366
Neurons: 6,071
I am asking about a bit different thing. I am asking why "I had had two lessons before starting this one." brings objections of natives (Thar and others out of this forum) while " I hadn’t used a hammer before working in construction." is taken as a good sentence". It's confusing.


Plus, I disagree with NKM on account of his statement that "I worked in construction". I can still work in construction now.
thar
Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2019 8:17:37 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 19,686
Neurons: 79,469
Then your sentence doesn't work.

'working' is a participle - it has no time.

It is not the present progressive 'I am working in construction'.

'before working in construction' is a participle phrase and it takes on the time that is set by the main verb in the sentence. If that main verb is the past perfect, then that means the working was in the past.

I had not used a hammer before working in construction.
= I worked in construction in the past.
Before that I had not used a hammer

I have not used a hammer before working in construction
= I am working in construction now.
Before this I have not used a hammer.

I will not use a hammer before working in construction
= I will work in construction in the future.
Before that I will not use a hammer.



I had had two lessons before starting that one / this one.
You started in the past.
You had had two lessons before then.
This is possible because you could have started the lesson in the past, even if that was only twenty minutes ago. Or last year.

I have had two lessons before starting this one
You are starting this one in the present.
You have had two lessons before now.

I will have had two lessons before starting that one.
You have a lesson planned in the future. Up to now you have not had any lessons, or only had one. You have another planned that will take place before the big lesson.
When the time for that lesson arrives, you will already have had two lessons.


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