Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Past Perfect Tense

Definition: 

Past perfect tense is an absolute-relative tense that refers to a time in the past relative to a reference point, which itself is in the past relative to the moment of utterance.

Examples: 

(English)

The “had + verb” construction expresses past perfect tense, as in the following sentence:

  • By that time, nearly everyone had left.
  • The construction had left is in the past relative to that time, which itself is in the past relative to the moment of utterance

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