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Hi. Would you say we normally use one past perfect tense in a sentence, whether the sentence is complex or compound? Do you perceive any sentential situation where two past perfect tenses would be used correctly in a sentence? After more thoughts on this, I think I am covering too broad a ground on this and it would be very hard for anyone do provide clear answers/responses. But any way I wish someone would catch the crux of my dilemma and come to the rescue by providing me with a good response (or responses) .

1. I had tried hard to learn Spanish, but I could not do it.

2. I had pushed it hard, but he was pushing it harder at the time I was pushing it.

3. I didn't finished the work because the foreman had told me not to do it.

4. I hadn't finished my homework and my friend didn't do it, too.

5. When I entered the room, he had already finished his work.
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Hi,

Before I try to help with your more complicated examples, please allow me to find out how familiar you are with Past Perfect.

In what situations should Past Perfect be used? I'm just thinking of simple sentences.

eg When would we want to say 'Mary had cooked dinner'?

Best wishes, Clive
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Hi. Thank you. I think, as in the case you mentioned, a past perfect tense would be used when you want to denote an event or action that precedes another event or action. I think I can set up a context for your example llike this if someone happens to ask me for one. I think it would sound better if I put the word "already" between the words "had" and "cooked," but as it is I think it illustrates a case of a past perfect usage.

Jim came home to home to eat dinner and found out out that Mary had cooked dinner. The dinner was on the table covered in a large piece of cloth. He ate dinner with the feeling of gratitude.
Hi,

OK. Let's consider your examples.



Would you say we normally use one past perfect tense in a sentence, whether the sentence is complex or compound? Do you perceive any sentential situation where two past perfect tenses would be used correctly in a sentence? After more thoughts on this, I think I am covering too broad a ground on this and it would be very hard for anyone do provide clear answers/responses. But any way I wish someone would catch the crux of my dilemma and come to the rescue by providing me with a good response (or responses) .

1. I had tried hard to learn Spanish, but I could not do it. OK,although I prefer 'but I hadn't been able to do it'.

2. I had pushed it hard, but he was pushing it harder at the time I was pushing it. I suppose you could say this, but it sounds very awkward. I think I'd prefer

I had pushed it hard, but he had been pushing it harder at the same time.

Really, I'd prefer to reorganize it.

eg We had both pushed it hard at the same time. He pushed harder than me.

3. I didn't finished the work because the foreman had told me not to do it. This is OK, although you could just use Simple Past (the foreman told me). There may be a tiny difference, but not much.

4. I hadn't finished my homework and my friend didn't do it, too. To get the sequencing right, you need to say ' . . . and my friend hadn't either'.

5. When I entered the room, he had already finished his work. Fine.

I'm not sure if I've addressed your general concerns. Do you have any further questions about this topic?

Best wishes, Clive
Hi. Thank you. I think once in a while a person might encounter a situation or be in a situation where he or she needs more time to digest what has been said in a response from a teacher and I think this is one of those occasions or situations. Thank you for your response. I think I need more time to digest.
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A good way to look at is that the past perfect tense is used when two actions occured in the past and you want to indicate which was first and which was second.

My mom asked me why we were out of eggs. I told her that I had gone to the store but it was closed.

1. I had tried hard to learn Spanish, but I could not do it. This is a case for simple past. I tried to learn Spanish, but I could not do it. There is no time order here.

2. I had pushed it hard, but he was pushing it harder at the time I was pushing it. Again, simple past. I pushed it hard but he pushed harder. Both actions occur at the same time.

3. I didn't finished the work because the foreman had told me not to do it. I didn't finish the work because the foreman had told me not to. Even here, I'd use simple past. I didn't finish the work because the forman told me not to. Here you don't need the past perfect because the order is evident and it feels awkward.

4. I hadn't finished my homework and my friend didn't do it, too. I didn't finish my homework and my friend didn't either. There is no indication of time. We don't know who didn't do it first. LOL. If you want past perfect try: I hadn't finished my homework when my friend arrived. We wound up playing video games and neither of us finished.

5. When I entered the room, he had already finished his work. Good

Notice that one verb will be past perfect and the other is simple past. The action that is further in the past will be the past perfect.