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plu­per­fect

28 Mar 2007

Tagged with Miscellaneous

In the sen­tence “The blind man, who knew that he had risen, motioned him to sit down again” (from Charles Dick­ens, Barn­aby Rudge), “he had risen” is an exam­ple of the plu­per­fect tense. It refers to an event (some­one rises from his seat), which takes place before another event (the blind man notices the fact that the other has risen). Since that sec­ond event (the blind man’s tak­ing notice) is itself a past event and the past tense is used to refer to it (“the blind man knew”), the plu­per­fect is needed to make it clear that the first event (some­one rises) has taken place even ear­lier in the past.

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