Grammar - Intermediate
Past Perfect Structure
We make the past perfect using had + the past participle. Here is the verb "go".
She had written a letter to me.
Past Perfect Use
We use the past perfect to talk about something that happened before another event in the past. It's like a double past.
Take this sentence in the past simple.
I arrived home at about 6 o'clock and sat down on the sofa to watch the big football game.
Poor John doesn't realise that the television doesn't work. Why doesn't the TV work? The TV exploded at 5pm - one hour before he arrived home:
His wife explained that the TV had exploded at 5pm.
Look at these two sentences. What is the difference?
When John arrived home, his wife cooked dinner.
In the first, we use past simple and past simple for a sequence of events in the past. So his wife waited for John to arrive home, then started cooking dinner.
In the second sentence, "his wife had cooked dinner" tells us that this had happened before John arrived. It means the dinner was waiting for John on the table when he arrived.
So we can use the past perfect to make it clear that something had happened before something else.
She failed her exams because she hadn't studied.
We could also write:
She failed her exams because she didn't study.
But using the past perfect emphasises the fact that she hadn't studied before the exam.
The past perfect is often used, therefore, to talk about the reasons for a past situation.
She was crying because Philip had written her a terrible letter.
'Make', 'Let' and 'Allow'
These three words are used to talk about permission and obligation.
If someone obliges, forces someone to do something, we use "make". The construction is:
make someone do something.
Unlike most verb, then, we don't use "to" in the infinitive.
My teacher made me do extra homework because of the trouble I caused.
In the passive, we add "to" after make.
She was made to leave the room while the plans were discussed.
If we have permission from someone to do something, we use "let". The construction is:
let someone do something.
Again, we don't use "to" in the infinitive.
My mother lets me stay out till midnight on a Saturday.
I was allowed to leave early.
If someone gives us permission or the possibility to do something, we use "allow to". The construction is:
allow someone to do something.
Working from home allows me to spend more time with my family
It is used very often in the passive. In this way, the person given the permission is made the subject of the sentence.
You're not allowed to smoke in this room.
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