Past simple and Past Perfect in a specific time Hello eveyone! I thought it was clear in my mind the difference between Past simple and Past Perfect but these kind of examples make me confuse: ------------------------------- I took these sentences and their explaination from my English book. - I ate my dinner at 9 o' clock. - I had eaten my dinner at 9 o'clock. the first sentence means I started to eat my dinner at 9 o' clock, whereas the second one means that my dinner was already finished at 9 o'clock. ------------------------------ I don't undestand the explaination. Those examples for me mean that at 9 o'clock I finished to eat. "the Simple Past express the idea that an action started and finished at a specific time in the past." "We use the Past Perfect to show that something started in the past and continued up until another action in the past." Could you help me, maybe trying to explain the difference between these sentences in other words?? Thank you, have a nice day!!
Oct 28, 2017 1:06 PM
Answers · 7
Those explanations are quite confusing. The point of past simple is in stating a fact, we don´t always know if the action actually finished there, all we know is the fact that it took place at that time. Past perfect denotes an action that happened up to some moment in the past or prior to another past action and it basically don´t exist without a context. The example from your book without any context doesn´t make sense to me. If it was said "by 9 o'clock", the use of past perfect would be justified. Could tell me what book it is exactly so that I could find it and have a look?
October 28, 2017
Simone, I agree that the explanation is confusing, but I'm not quite sure why an Italian person would be confused by the past perfect. As far as I know, the Italian equivalent of the past perfect has the same function as the English one. So 'I had eaten' would translate word for word as 'Avevo mangiato' in Italian, and it would be used in exactly the same way.
October 28, 2017
Hi Simone, I assume past perfect roughly equates to trapassato prossimo? We never use past perfect by itself. It's always used in respect to past simple actions. This means the past perfect action provides a context for the past simple actions: "My parents offered me dinner when I arrived at 10:30, but I had eaten my dinner at 9 o'clock." (=you were not hungry when you arrived and you didn't need to eat dinner with your parents)
October 28, 2017
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