You Don’t Have to Have Had

When writing in past tense, it is sometimes very tempting to slip a “had” where, in truth, there is no need for it.

Example:

She was leaving town sooner than she had expected.

In the sentence above, honestly there is no need for “had”. Cutting that one word may not seem like a huge change, but for me, it makes the sentence read smoother.

She was leaving town sooner than expected.

Same goes for reffering to a past event. You already know it happened in the past, and so “had” isn’t necessary.

Three years ago, she had visited the Grand Theatre. / She had visited the Grand Theatre three years ago.

Vs

Three years ago, she visited the Grand Theatre. / She visited the Grand Theatre three years ago.

As you can see, dropping “had” doesn’t make a huge difference in the large sceme of things, and truthfully, it is not something most people will notice or care about as long as the sentence makes sense. This “tip” is more aimed towards writers looking to shave off as many words as they can or looking for a smoother way (imo) to write past tense. For that purpose, I hope this may be benificial to at least one person.

Keep writing!

Allison M

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