Sunday, September 23, 2012

"had taken" or "have taken"

From: *** <***>
Sent: Friday, September 21, 2012 8:36 PM
Subject: ENGLISH

Salam. Another question is,

On the first day of my trip in Malacca, we went to the historical sites of Malacca, A Famosa. We bought some souvenirs there.We have also taken3 photographs there. After visited visiting A Famosa, we went to visit the crocodile farm.

Why not, we had also taken instead of we have also taken.


Teacher Nuha's reply:

(my reply is based on a little research that I did from several websites)

Waalaikumussalam ***. Thanks for asking the question. Before answering your question, let me first explain to you about "present perfect tense" and "past perfect tense".

How to form the PRESENT perfect tense?

has/have + past participle [learn more about past participle]

For example:
  1. He has eaten his breakfast. 
  2. She has studied for the test.
  3. have taken the book.
  4. We have hidden the treasure.
How do we use the present perfect tense?
1. We use the present perfect tense to talk about an event which has happened in the past but we are not interested in the time in which it happened.

He has eaten his breakfast. (present perfect tense - the time is not stated) 
He ate his breakfast at 8.30 a.m. (past tense - the time is stated)

She has studied for the test. (present perfect tense - the time is not stated)
She studied for the test last night. (past tense - the time is stated)

2. We can use the present perfect tense to talk about experience from the past

3. So, in answering your question, we can write, "We have also taken photographs there." (using the present perfect tense)

4. Alternatively, we can also write, "We took photographs there." (using the past tense)

5. Question: Why not, "We had also taken photographs there." ? Please read more.

How to form the PAST perfect tense?

had + past participle 

How do we use the present perfect tense?
We use the past perfect tense to talk about two(2) relating events which have happened in the past. By using the past perfect tense, we can emphasise which of the two events happened first.

Event 1 : He ate his breakfast.
Event 2 : The bell rang. 

In these two sentences, we don't know which event happened first.

Read the following sentence,
He had eaten his breakfast when the bell rang. 

  • From this sentence, we know that Event 1 happened first followed by Event 2. 
  • Both events have already taken place in the past.
  • Event 1 is written in the past perfect tense because it happened first.
  • Event 2 is written in the past tense because it came next.

More examples:

1. When the car exploded, she had already gotten out from the car.
Event 1: She had already gotten out from the car. (written in the past perfect tense because it happened first)
Event 2: The car exploded. (written in the past tense because it happened later than Event 1)

2. They had slept when a burglar broke into their house.
Event 1: They had slept. (written in the past perfect tense because it happened first)
Event 2: A burglar broke into their house. (written in the past tense because it happened later than Event 1)

So in my humble opinion, why not, "We had also taken photographs there." ?  I guess it's not proper to use past perfect in this situation unless..

We had also taken photographs when suddenly it rained heavily. OR
Whad also taken photographs when the camera was out of battery. OR
Whad also taken photographs when my mother called for lunch.

HOWEVER, if we write, "We bought some souvenirs there. We had also taken photographs there." , the latter indicates taking photos prior to buying gifts. 

Keep on learning!


Farahin said...

I [had] been struggling in looking forward this kind of explanation until I [found] this entry.

Is it correct?
hehe btw,
this is so helpful!
Thanks (:

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