1 I have been a school teacher for 28 years.
这里的for 28 years就是表现距离现在有“28年”了，相当于说：I have been a school teacher for 28 years now.
曾经读到过这样一个故事，说的是一个小男孩从一个老人那里听说，在这个世界上有一份最好的礼物，谁要是能得到它谁就会永远幸福（It is the best present a person can receive because anyone who receives such a gift is happy forever.）这个礼物叫做The Precious Present。
“它是一个魔戒吗？带上它之后就能让我所有的愿望都实现？”老人说：“不是。The Precious Present与你的愿望无关。”
“它是一块神奇的飞毯吗？坐上它就能带我去任何我想去的地方？”老人说：“不是。The Precious Present能让你无论身在何处，都会感到无比幸福。”
“您说的The Precious Present难道是海底的珍宝吗？比如说，是很久以前被海盗埋在海底的金币？”老人说：“不是。或者说它的确是珍宝，但与金币无关。”
对于老人一再否定的回答，这位年轻人备受打击，他开始有些不耐烦了，甚至是生气。他对老人愤愤地说：“如果您想让我幸福，那您为什么不直接告诉我The Precious Present到底是什么呢？还有，为什么不告诉我在哪里才能找到它呢？”老人无奈地说：“我的孩子，我无法告诉你，也无法给你，因为这个礼物除了你自己，其他任何人都无法送给你（The Precious Present is not something that someone gives you. It is a gift that you give yourself.）”
听了老人这番话，年轻人更加糊涂了。但不管怎样，他已决定自己去寻找The Precious Present。
(He packed his bags. He left where he was and went elsewhere to look for The Precious Present.
After many frustrating years, the man grew tired of looking for The Precious Present. He had read all the latest books. He had looked in the mirror and into the faces of other people. He had looked for it at the tops of mountains and in cold dark caves. He had searched for it in dense, humid jungles and underneath the seas. He had gone to extraordinary lengths. He had wanted so much to find The Precious Present. But it was all to no avail. His stressful search had exhausted him.
The man returned wearily to the old man's side...)
在上面的故事中，开头几句用的是一般过去时态（如the man grew tired of looking for The Precious Present），但其他黑体部分用的是过去完成时态：
2 He had read all the latest books.
3 He had looked in the mirror and into the faces of other people.
4 He had looked for it at the tops of mountains and in cold dark caves.
5 He had searched for it in dense, humid jungles and underneath the seas.
6 He had gone to extraordinary lengths.
7 He had wanted so much to find The Precious Present.
8 His stressful search had exhausted him.
这是因为在英语思考方式里，陈述一件过去的事件（如上文中的the man grew tired of looking for The Precious Present）的时候，再回顾联想到在这个过去的事件之前所发生的另外一个事件（如He had read all the latest books.），对这个“过去之前的过去（the past before the past）”就须用“过去完成时态（had done）”的动词形式。换言之，过去完成时是站在“过去时间”的角度回顾更远的过去，即谈的是“过去的过去”的情况。从这个意义上讲，过去完成时态是一个不能独立存在的时态，它必须依附于一个一般过去时态，也就是说，要先有一般过去时态，才可能有过去完成时态。
比如在上文中，grew表示过去，而接下来的一系列活动都是发生在grew之前的，所以都用了过去完成时态，说成had read, had looked in, had looked for, had searched, had gone, had wanted和had exhausted等。
现在我们再回到刚才讲的故事中。当历经数年苦寻而终无结果之后，这位unhappy young man决定放弃寻找。而此时奇迹出现了，他突然顿悟：原来自己苦苦寻找的、希望能带给自己永远幸福的“最珍贵的礼物”——不是过去，不是将来，而是现在，是最宝贵的当下的生活（The Precious Present is just The Present, not the past and not the future, but The Precious Present.）！
最珍贵的礼物The Precious Present不就是最珍贵的现在时刻（The Precious Present）吗？而每一个现在时刻的幸福不就是永远的幸福吗？
My past was the Present; my future will be the Present. The Present moment is the only reality I ever experience. As long as I continue to stay in the Present, I am happy forever: because Forever is always the Present! The Precious Present is something precious that I can give to and receive from myself, for I am precious. I am The Precious Present!
下面来看第二个故事。这是马克·吐温（Mark Twain）写的一篇关于自己母亲的文章，题目是This Was My Mother:
9 This Was My Mother
She was 82 and living in Keoluk when, unaccountably, she insisted upon attending a convention of old settlers of the Mississippi Valley. All the way there, and it was some distance, she was young again with excitement and eagerness. At the hotel she asked immediately for Dr. Barrett, of St. Louis. He had left for home that morning and would not be back, she was told. She turned away, the fire all gone from her, and asked to go home. Once there she sat silent and thinking for many days, then told us that when she was 18 she had loved a young medical student with all her heart. There was a misunderstanding and he left the country; she had immediately married, to show him that she did not care. She had never seen him since and then she had read in a newspaper that he was going to attend the old settlers' convention. "Only three hours before we reached that hotel he had been there," she mourned.
She had kept that pathetic burden in her heart 64 years without any of us suspecting it. Before the year was out, her memory began to fail. She would write letters to school-mates who had been dead 40 years and wonder why they never answered. Four years later she died.
文章一开始，作者就说This Was My Mother，过去时was表明“母亲”已经不在人世，那么后面的经历都是过去的，这个was就为下文的过去完成时态奠定了“过去”的时间视角。在翻译时，如果把This Was My Mother简单直白地译成“这是我的母亲”，那么显然没有译出was的含义。我们不妨把它译成“回忆母亲”，用“回忆”表明母亲已不在人世——与英语的was有异曲同工之妙。
1) At the hotel she asked immediately for Dr. Barrett, of St. Louis. He had left for home that morning and would not be back, she was told.
另外值得注意的是，这里还有一个具体的过去时间that morning。对于这样一个具体的过去时间，句子若采用一般过去时态是没有问题的，而这里用了过去完成时态。由此可见，过去完成时态可以与具体的过去时间状语连用。这不同于现在完成时态，因为现在完成时态是绝对不可以与具体的过去时间连用的。具体的过去时间之所以可以与过去完成时连用，是因为只要这个具体的过去时间是表示“过去的过去”，就符合过去完成时态的根本使用原则——表示“过去的过去”之情况。比如这里的that morning是在asked这个过去的时间之前，所以出现that morning与过去完成时had left搭配使用的情形。
2) Once there she sat silent and thinking for many days, then told us that when she was 18 she had loved a young medical student with all her heart.
3) ...she had immediately married, to show him that she did not care.
4) She had never seen him since and then she had read in a newspaper that he was going to attend the old settlers' convention.
含有since的主句中一般是用现在完成时态，但这里用了过去完成时had never seen，这是因为这里的since所表示的时间段不是到目前说话时为止，而是到当时为止——即她去世时为止。所以，要用过去完成时。
5) "Only three hours before we reached that hotel he had been there," she mourned.
6) She had kept that pathetic burden in her heart 64 years without any of us suspecting it.
7) She would write letters to school-mates who had been dead 40 years and wonder why they never answered.
这里的had been dead是相对于过去的动作would write而言的，所以用了过去完成时。
10 My Grandmother
My grandmother is a woman who used to crack Brazil nuts open with her teeth, a woman who once lifted a car off the ground, when there was an accident and it had to be moved. She has been representing her death as imminent ever since I've known her—twenty-five years—and has discussed, at length, the distribution of her possessions and her lamb coat. Every time we said goodbye, after our annual visit to Winnipeg, she'd weep and say she'd never see us again. But in the meantime, while every relative of her generation, and a good many of the younger ones, has died (usually nursed by her), she has kept making knishes, shopping for bargains, tending the healthiest plants I've ever seen.
作者在文章的一开头用了一般现在时的is，向读者表明，他的祖母还没有去世，所以，说话的时间视角是“现在”，那么下文中要“回顾”过去的经历时，就自然会用到现在完成时态（比如has been, have known, has discussed, has died, has kept和has ever seen），而不可能出现过去完成时态。
A: You have been a member of Parliament for five or six weeks now. Is it as you expected it to be?
B: I had an idea of what being a member of Parliament was like. I had been on a local authority for four years, and as a journalist and as a political activist I had visited the House of Commons, so it's more or less what I expected.
在这段对话中，B一开始回答就用了一般过去时态had an idea，表示他以前就对当议员的生活有所了解，而不是在当上议员之后才知道的。后面他紧接着就解释他为什么会对议员的生活有了解，因为他自己以前曾经在（had been）一个政府机关（a local authority）工作过四年，并且常常拜访（had visited）国会下院。这里的had been和had visited都是基于前面的一般过去时态的had an idea基础上的一个更远的过去事件，所以都用了过去完成时态。也就是说，因为前文先有了had an idea，所以后文再往过去回顾就得用过去完成时had been和had visited。
但如果B是在做了五六个星期的议员后到现在才了解议员工作的，那么他就会用一般现在时态这样说：Since I have been a Member of Parliament for five or six weeks now, I have an idea of what being a member of Parliament is like.
言外之意，他以前对议员工作是不了解的。没有了一般过去时态作为时间参照，那么后文再对过去的事件进行陈述就无法用过去完成时态了，而应该改用一般过去时态。比如他会说：...I was on a local authority for four years and...I visited the House of Commons,...
但是，从前后两部分的逻辑关系来看，后文的had been和had visited是对前文的had an idea...的解释，如果改成一般现在时态后说成have an idea，那么后文的was和visited就与前文的have an idea在逻辑语义上没有联系了，因此也就无法对have an idea进行解释说明了。由此可见，时态在上下文语境中的灵活与正确的使用对于句义及话语的逻辑关系的表达是多么重要。
作者注：英国的国会叫做Parliament, the House of Commons是英国国会下议院，the House of Lords指英国国会上议院。
I had always wondered how the ewes knew their own lambs; now I learned that it was partly by voice, but chiefly by smell, looks not entering into it.
在这句话中，had wondered同样是表示在learned之前的过去，即过去的过去，所以用了过去完成时态。如果后面说成now I learn that...，那么前面就得改为一般过去时态说成I always wondered...，因此整个句子就需要这样说：I always wondered how the ewes knew their own lambs; now I learn that it is partly by voice, but chiefly by smell, looks not entering into it.
Yesterday the wind blew very hard. It had never blown that hard before. I knew when it first began that it would be bad for my garden. The plants that grew out in the open were hurt badly. Only a few which had already grown strong survived the windstorm. If I had only known, I would have planted them closer to my house.
这里的yesterday就为下文定下了时间基调，所以才会出现has never blown和had already grown这样的过去完成时。
14 The Call of the Wild
Sheba the shark floated just centimeters away from me. I could have reached out and touched her. Could have, that is, if the thick Plexiglas wall hadn't been there. The wall curved above my head, forming a tunnel through the aquarium. The tunnel allowed me to visit the home of Sheba and 3,000 other sea animals.
When my undersea tour had ended, I rode the escalator back to the mall. I felt a little strange. Moments ago, I'd been in the dark, beautiful world of the ocean floor. Now crowds of people and brightly lit stores surrounded me.
Located in Minnesota's Mall of America, Underwater Adventures offers visitors a virtual tour of the ocean floor. It does so in the convenience of a shopping center. This park is just one of many in the rapidly expanding world of animal parks.
这里有moments ago这样的过去的具体时间，但它与过去完成时的I'd been in the dark, beautiful world of the ocean floor. 连用。
另外，by the time常常可以与过去完成时搭配使用，具体结构是：过去完成时＋by the time＋一般过去时。请看下面这个笑话：
15 A: It was my grandmother's birthday yesterday.
B: Is she old?
A: Well, by the time we lit up the last candle on her birthday cake, the first one had gone out!
因为by the time本身的意思是“在……之前”，所以过去的动作lit之前发生了had gone out的动作，故用过去完成时态。
16 She felt suitably humble just as she________when he had first taken a good look at her, hair waved and golden, nails red and pointed.
C．would have had
这道题有一定的难度，它考查考生对时态的掌握。首先看到这里主句的谓语felt是表示过去的时间。其次，时间状语从句when的谓语had taken是过去完成时。综合这两点，现在需要判断as引导的方式状语从句的谓语需要用什么时态。显然，as引导的从句的谓语动作发生在felt之前，故也需要用过去完成时态，因而可以排除C和D选项。而选项B即had had是一个完整的谓语，谓语动词是had，但该句中没有“had（有）”的意思。于是只能填A即had。
分析到这里，也许还是有读者不明白为什么要填A。其实，这里的A是一个省略形式，完整的谓语应该是had done，done可以省去。这里的done代替了felt。因此，真正的谓语是had felt，相当于说as she had felt humble，即表示“就像他当初见到她时，她感到谦卑那样”。
1．I_______(just, sit) down in the recliner to watch TV when I_________(hear) a knock on the door. When I_______(open) the front door I________(see) a young man standing there staring at me.
2．I_________(just, pour) myself a cup of tea when the phone_________(ring). When I__________(come) back from answering it, the cup__________(be) empty. Somebody__________(drink) the tea or________(throw) it away.
3．A: It's already 10 o'clock. I guess Bob and Amy won't be coming to the party.
B: They________(call) at nine to say that they_______(hold up).
4．Surgeon: How________the patient_______(be) since I_______(operate) on his heart?
Nurse: He is fine except that he seems to have a double heartbeat.
Surgeon: Ah, so that's where it's gone! I was wondering where I________(lose) my watch!
5．When her daughter________(arrive) home from a party, Mrs. Thompson asked her if she________(thank) her hostess. "No," she said. "The girl in front of me thanked her and the lady said 'Don't mention it' so I didn't."
6．Kenneth is so stupid. He phoned his teacher at school yesterday to say he couldn't come to school because he________(lose) his voice!
7．A: A beggar stopped me the other day and said he_________(not, have) a bite for days.
B: What did you do?
A: I bit him!
8．A: Mum! Mum! Dad_______(fall) over a cliff.
B: Is he okay?
A: I don't know. He_______(not, stop) falling when I left.
现在完成时是站在“现在时间”的角度回顾过去。同理类推，过去完成时是站在“过去时间”的角度回顾更远的过去（The Past Perfect indicates "the past before the past"—what film-makers call a "flashback" in time.）即谈的是“过去的过去”的情况。这里同样涉及两个时间点：一个事件从更远的过去开始发生，然后“延续”到另一个较近的过去，或者“重复”到另一个较近的过去，或者在过去的某一时刻已经结束，这就分别构成了延续事件、重复事件和单一事件，完全类似于现在完成时，区别只是“坐标时间”由“现在”移至“过去”。因此，过去完成时态同样具有三种含义——延续事件、重复事件和单一事件。具体来说，过去完成时是用来表示在过去的某一时刻之前（即过去的过去）就已开始的动作，这一动作：
1 I had stayed in America for two years when he moved here.
2 I had learned 1,000 words by the end of last year.
learned在过去的时间the end of last year之前已开始发生，到“去年年底”之后还将可能持续下去，因此用过去完成时had learned。
3 We had studied English for six years when we entered college.
4 We have studied English for six years when we enter college.
5 A: It's already 10 o'clock. I guess Bob and Amy won't be coming to the party.
B: They called at nine to say that they'd been held up.
现在的时间是10点，在9点钟这一过去的时间打电话时，Bob和Amy已经“有事被耽误了”，所以“被耽误”应该用过去完成时had been held up。
6 Why Did the Easter Islanders Disappear?
Isolated in middle Pacific Ocean, Easter Island has attracted anthropologists ever since its discovery in 1772. This civilization had lived for 1,200 years on this small island. Who were they, and why did they sculpt those big stone heads with staring eyes?
这里的过去完成时had lived一直持续到另外一个过去的时间its discovery in 1772。
7 Former Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, who had been in a coma（昏迷）for six weeks, died of a cerebral（大脑的）infarction（梗塞）at a Tokyo hospital.
8 I had waited for her for two hours in such a severe winter when she eventually turned up, which of course drove me mad. 我在这样严寒的冬日里等了她两个小时，所以当她终于出现的时候，我当然气得要命。
9 He had served in the army for ten years; then he retired and married. His children were now at school.
10 There had been fifty colleges in our city up till 1993. 到1993年时，我们的城市里已经有了50所大学。
11 In 1988, Audrey became a special ambassador to the United Nations UNICEF fund helping children in Latin America and Africa, a position she retained until 1993. She was named to People's magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world. Her last film was Always in 1989. Audrey Hepburn died on January 20, 1993 in Tolochnaz, Switzerland, from colon cancer. She had made a total of 31 high quality movies. Her elegance and style will always be remembered in film history as evidenced by her being named to Empire magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time".
这里的过去完成时had made显然是表示过去重复的动作，且该动作只重复到过去，没有一直持续到现在，所以用过去完成时。读者可以将该句与5.5.1小节的有关汤姆·克鲁斯（Tom Cruise）的这个例句进行比较：He moved to New York and appeared in a few teen movies before starring in his first big hit, Top Gun in 1986. Since then he has made hit after hit movies.
12 Students at Northern Jiaotong University are welcomed with flowers after being discharged from quarantine yesterday afternoon in Beijing. Nearly 400 students were in isolation in a dormitory compound for a fortnight. More than 10 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) cases had been reported in the building before it was sealed off on April 24. No new cases were found during the isolation period. Quarantine measures were also lifted yesterday at a residential building of Beijing's Central University of Finance and Economics, where some 38 families had been isolated since April 24.
在过去的动作was sealed off之前，reported的动作“重复”发生了十多次，即文中说的more than 10 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)，故该用过去完成时had been reported。另外，对于过去完成时had been isolated，既可能有延续的含义，也可能有重复的含义。这里出现了since，虽然与since搭配的主句一般是现在完成时态，但这里用了过去完成时态的had been isolated，因为“被隔离”只持续到上文出现的yesterday afternoon，而没有持续到现在。这里的yesterday afternoon就相当于一个过去的参照时间。
13 I had proposed to her five times, but she still refused to marry me. 我已经向她求婚五次了，但还是被拒绝。
14 I had written her 100 letters when she finally promised to marry me.
15 Clint had written three letters by the time she arrived. 她到达的时候，克林特写了三封信。
16 She had made everything ready before I came.
17 Her baby had fallen asleep when she went into the room.
18 I had just poured myself a cup of tea when the phone rang. When I came back from answering it, the cup was empty. Somebody had drunk the tea or thrown it away.
在过去的动作rang之前pour的动作已经完成，故用过去完成时had poured。同理，在过去的状态was empty之前drink和throw的动作已经完成，故两者都用过去完成时had drunk和（had）thrown。
19 I had just sat down in the recliner to watch TV when I heard a knock on the door. When I opened the front door I saw a young man standing there staring at me.
主要是指intend, mean, hope, want, plan, suppose, expect, think, propose和wish等动词用于过去完成时，可表示过去未能实现的计划、设想、意图或希望等。请看例句：
1 I had intended to watch just one program, but somehow I couldn't make myself switch off the TV.
2 I had intended to see you, but I was busy. 我本打算去看你，但是我太忙了。
3 I had planned to go shopping with you, but my mother came to see me just when I was about to go.
4 She had hoped that he would come to date her, but he didn't show up.
5 They had hoped to see you off at the airport, but they got there too late.
6 A: Peter had hoped to have his apartment painted by this time.
B: But he hasn't even started yet, has he?
7 A: Are you glad you came to China?
B: Yes. Indeed. I'd considered going to Tokyo or Singapore, but I've never regretted my decision.
这一点完全类似于我们在5.8节中讨论过的现在完成时的用法，即用在“It was the＋序数词（first, second...）或最高级……that……”句型中。例如：
8 It was the third time that someone had interrupted me that night. 那是那天晚上我第三次被打断。
9 On his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the morning. As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen. He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they'd be nice and fresh. I knew his bus left at 4:00 a. m. and I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.
因为有过去时的bought表明是过去的时间，所以在最高级the largest的后面要用过去完成时态had seen。
1 He opened the door and entered, but found nobody. 他打开门进去了，但一个人都没看见。
2 1) He served in the army for ten years; then retired and married. His children are now at school.
2) He had served in the army for ten years; then he retired and married. His children were now at school.
3 He had served in the airforce for ten years before he died in the jet-crash incident.
4 I heard voices and realized that there were several people in the next room.
5 I saw empty glasses and cigar butts on the table and realized that someone had been in the room.
6 I realized that we had met before.
这里不说：I realized that we met before.*
7 When I had opened all the windows, I sat down and had a cup of tea.
不宜说：When I opened all the windows, I sat down and had a cup of tea.*
8 When I opened the window the cat jumped in.（比说When I had opened...更自然。）
9 When I had written my letters I did some gardening.
不宜说：When I wrote my letters I did some gardening.*
10 When I wrote him a letter, he came at once. 我给他去了封信后，他立即就来了。
11 When the singer had sung her song, she sat down. 这名歌手唱完歌以后，就坐下了。
上面这句话若说成：When the singer sang her song, she sat down.
Appointment with Love
Six minutes to six, said the clock over the information booth in New York's Grand Central Station. The tall, young Army lieutenant lifted his sunburned face and narrowed his eyes to note the exact time. His heart was pounding with a beat. In six minutes he would see the woman who had filled such a special place in his life for the past 13 months, the woman he had never seen, yet whose written words had sustained him unfailingly.
Lieutenant Blandford remembered one day in particular, during the worst of the fighting, when his plane had been caught in the midst of a pack of enemy planes. In one of his letters he had confessed to her that he often felt fear, and only a few days before this battle he had received her answer, "Of course you fear...all brave men do. Next time you doubt yourself, I want you to hear my voice reciting to you: Yeah, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for thou are with me..." He had remembered, and it had renewed his strength.
Now he was going to hear her real voice. Four minutes to six.
A girl passed close to him, and Lieutenant Blandford started. She was wearing a flower, but it was not the little red rose they had agreed upon. Besides, this girl was only about 18, and Hopis Meynell had told him she was 30. "What of it?" he had answered. "I'm 32." He was 29.
His mind went back to that book he had read in the training camp. Of Human Bondage it was, and throughout the book were notes in a woman's handwriting. He had never believed that a woman could see into a man's heart so tenderly, so understandingly. Her name was on the bookplate: Hopis Meynell. He had got hold of a New York City telephone book and found her address. He had written, and she had answered. Next day he had been shipped out, but they had gone on writing.
For 13 months she had faithfully replied. When his letters did not arrive, she wrote anyway, and now he believed that he loved her and that she loved him.
But she had refused all his pleas to send him her photograph. She had explained, "If your feeling for me has any reality, what I look like won't matter. Suppose I'm beautiful. I'd always be haunted by the feeling that you had been taking a chance on just that, and that kind of love would disgust me. Suppose I'm plain (and you must admit that this is more likely), then I'd always fear that you were only going on writing because you were lonely and had no one else. No, don't ask for my picture. When you come to New York, you shall see me and then you shall make your decision."
One minute to six...he pulled hard on a cigarette. Then Lieutenant Blandford's heart leaped.
A young woman was coming toward him. Her figure was long and slim, her blond hair lay back in curls over her delicate ears. Her eyes were as blue as flowers, her lips and chin had a gentle firmness. In her pale-green suit, she was like springtime come alive.
He started toward her, forgetting to notice whether she was wearing rose or not, and as he moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips.
"Going my way, soldier?" she murmured. He made one step closer to her. Then he saw Hollis Meynell.
She was standing almost directly behind the girl, a woman well past 40, her graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump, her thick ankle feet were thrust into low-heeled shoes.
But she wore a red rose on her rumpled coat. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly. Blandford felt as though he were being split into two, so keen was his desire to follow the girl, yet so deep was his longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned and upheld his own, and there she stood. He could see her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible and her gray eyes had a warm twinkle.
Lieutenant Blandford did not hesitate. His fingers gripped the worn copy of Human Bondage, which was to identify him to her. This would not be love, but it would be something precious, a friendship for which he had been and must ever be grateful...
He squared his shoulders, saluted, and held the book out toward the woman, although even while he spoke he felt the bitterness of his disappointment. "I'm John Blandford, and you...you are Miss Meynell. May...may I take you to dinner?"
The woman smiled. "I don't know what this is all about, son," she answered. "That young lady in the green suit, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said that if you asked me to go out with you, I should tell you she's waiting for you in that restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of a test."