Sunday, January 26, 2014

What had happened was...

For some reason, people use 'had' excessively and unnecessarily when forming past tense verbs.
The colloquial phrase, "See, what had happened was..." is often used in urban entertainment as a joke or comedic play with standard English.
However, this seems to have caused widespread, non-standard grammatical formations of past participle verbs.

Past Perfect Tense 
1.   "When you had called in your order, you switched the salad for the soup." 
Simple Past Tense 
 2.  "When you called in your order, you switched the salad for the soup." 

The second sentence --simple past tense-- is more concise. Also, the verb tenses are  parallel.
Meaning, the verbs called and switched are both written in simple past tense in the second sentence. This is preferred.

When to use Past Perfect tense (had):
Use the past perfect tense when you are describing two actions that happened in the past where one occurred before the other.
My husband had finished his workout by the time I arrived home from work.
The first verb had finished is written in the past perfect. The second verb arrived is written in the simple past tense.

Action Step:  Drop the unnecessary 'had' before the verb and use simple past tense for direct, concise language use.


Post a Comment