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7-7-2. Совершенное прошедшее время.

Форма глагола в прошедшем совершенном грамматическом времени (Past Perfect) в зависимости от лица и числа не меняется: I/we/you/they/he/she/it had written.

Past perfect фактически выражает «перенос» Present perfect в прошлое:

By three o'clock he had answered only half the letters (логическая связь между действием и последующим моментом).

Чаще всего Past perfect употребляется, чтобы подчеркнуть последовательность действий: какое было раньше, а какое – позже.

I opened my eyes again. The snake disappeared.
I opened my eyes again. The snake had disappeared.
(В первом случае змея уползла после того, как я открыл глаза, а в втором к этому моменту змея уже исчезла).

Don Jose was a wealthy Cuban landowner who emigrated to Mexico in 1959. The agricultural reforms had begun a few months before this. He moved again in 1965 and made his home in the United States. He had made his fortune in growing sugar cane as a young man in Cuba, and he brought his expertise to his new home.

During our conversation, I realised that we had met before. (неправильно: ‘ I realized that we met before/... have met before’).
When I arrived at the party, Lucy had already gone home. (неправильно: ‘ ... already went home/... has already gone home’).

As soon as the teacher entered the classroom, he saw that one of the boys had drawn a sketch of him on the blackboard.
When we arrived on the field, the match had already started.
On reaching the station, he found that his friends had just arrived.
When Ali came to England in 1952, he had already learnt to speak English well.
The bus driver was just about to start when he remembered that he had not filled the petrol tank.
We had got everything ready for them long before they arrived.
They had been to several parties during the Christmas holidays.

● Если последовательность ясна из контекста (например, при употреблении союза ‘after’) можно употреблять и Past Simple:

We arrived at the station after the train had left / left

● Past perfect часто употребляется после глаголов, выражающих размышления о чем-то, что было раньше:

I wondered who had left the door open.
I thought I had sent the cheque a week before.

● В косвенной речи Present perfect/Past Simple заменяется на Past perfect (при этом наречие ‘ago’ меняется на ‘before’ или ‘earlier’):

"I have already read that book."
She told me that she had already read that book.

"They left the district a few months ago."
I was told that they had left the district a few months before/earlier.

"Where have you been? What have you been doing?"
Не asked me where I had been and what I had been doing.

"I visited Naples two years ago."
Mary told me that she had visited Naples two years before.

● После ‘if’, ‘wish’ и ‘would rather’ Past Perfect выражает события, которые не произошли:

If I had gone to university I would have studied medicine.
I wish you had told me the truth.
I'd rather she had asked me before borrowing the car.

● С глаголами ‘hope’, ‘expect’, ‘think’, ‘intend’, ‘mean’ (в значении намереваться), ‘suppose’, ‘want’ Past Perfect выражает неосуществившиеся надежды и намерения:

We had hoped that you would be able to visit us
I had meant/intended to call on you, but was prevented from doing so.
She had thought of paying us a visit but the bad weather made her change her plans.
I hadn't expected that. That was something I hadn't expected.
They had wanted to, help but couldn't get here in time.
I hadn't for a minute supposed/expected that I should get the first prize (не ожидал, но получил).
We had intended to go to Wales this summer.

(может употребляться и сочетание с перфектным инфинитивом: ‘I meant to have called on you but...’ , ‘We intended to have gone to Wales...’)

● Past Perfect употребляется после выражений ‘it was the first’/’second that’ ... и им подобным:

It was the first time that I had heard her sing. (неправильно: ‘ ... that I heard ... ’)
It was the fifth time she had asked the same question. (неправильно: ‘ he asked ... ’)
It was only the second opera I had seen in my life. (неправильно: ‘ I saw... )