I always have difficulty understanding the perfect tense. Could you give me some tips or useful links that will help me to learn them. I have read resources from books and internet, but I am still very confused a lot of time.

For example:
Are these the same? They both don't indicate when the book was written. Can they be used interchangeably?

A) I had written a book ( past perfect)
B) I wrote a book. (simple past)

C) I had eaten.
D) I ate.

Are these both correct and mean the same?
E) I have never seen a bear before I moved to Alaska.
F) I had never seen a bear before I moved to Alaska.

Thank you for any assistance. I'm glad there is a great English site like this for us. English is a complicated language when it comes to grammar.
New Member02
Hi.

Here are a few brief and quick comments. to give you the general idea.

Present Perfect
eg Tom has never cooked dinner. Refers to the entire past up until the present time.

Past Perfect
Shows that some event happened before some later event in the past.
eg Tom came home at 6 pm. His wife cooked dinner. Sounds like she cooked it after 6 pm.
eg Tom came home at 6 pm. His wife had cooked dinner. She cooked it before 6 pm.

Simple Past
Refers to some specific point in th past.
eg Tom did not cook dinner (last Wednesday).

In everyday English, The Simple Past is often used instead of the Perfect tenses, if the context makes the meaning clear.

Now, have a look again at your examples, and see if you think they are all OK. Repost any you still are unsure about, Emotion: smile
Clive
Veteran Member67,727
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Hi Clive,

I appreciate the quick response and was excited to hear back from someone. Thank you for the examples. I think I understand it more now. I am still unsure about the following:

Are these both correct and mean the same?
E) I have never seen a bear before I moved to Alaska. (not sure if this is also ok to use? I'm thinking not.. but not sure why)
F) I had never seen a bear before I moved to Alaska. (means: I never saw a bear before up until I moved to Alaska. I saw a bear in Alaska. right?)

oh my.. trying to figure grammar kind of hurt my head.. LOL.. the language I speak is just so much simpler and easy to understand.

Thank you for your time and help.

Melanie
Hi,
I appreciate the quick response and was excited to hear back from someone. Thank you for the examples. I think I understand it more now. I am still unsure about the following:

Are these both correct and mean the same?
E) I have never seen a bear before I moved to Alaska. (not sure if this is also ok to use? I'm thinking not.. but not sure why)
Not correct. 'I have never seen . . . ' tells me in the past up to now, yet the rest of the sentence tells me in the past up until the time I moved'. So, there's a contradiction in meaning.

F) I had never seen a bear before I moved to Alaska. (means: I never saw a bear before up until I moved to Alaska. I saw a bear in Alaska. right?) Yes, fine. But in a sentence with words like 'before' or 'after', we often use just Simple Past because the sequence of events is still clear.

Write a few more sentences, if you wish to.
Clive
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