Saturday, October 4, 2014

The past perfect tense

Sometimes you should switch from the past tense (went, for example) to the past perfect tense (had gone). You should do this when you’re referring to an event that precedes the action in the text—the “present” of story time. Example:

Ted opened one of his art books to where he placed a bookmark.

Ted put the bookmark into the art book before he opened the book in the present, so you should write:

Ted opened one of his art books to where he had placed a bookmark.

In a sentence with two or more verbs that express past action, you should use the past perfect tense for the verb that expresses the earliest of the actions.

Paul Thayer
www.your-book-editor.com