Is had a past tense

If I told you:

"I was feeling very tense yesterday?"

Then you could respond:

"Really? What made you so tense?"


"Really? What had made you so tense?"

Neither is grammatically incorrect. However, the had isn't necessary, because made is a past tense verb already.

Incidentally, I wouldn't call the expression "what had made you so" grammatically incorrect, but it appears to be rarely used. When I did a Google book search:

  • "What had made you so" returned 19 results
  • "What has made you so" returned about 8,600 results
  • "What made you so" returned over 51,000 results

So, it the verb tense used? Yes, it's not an illegal sentence. That said, while I wouldn't call your first sentence "wrong," I would probably agree with your teacher that your first sentence could be improved by eliminating the "had".

answered Nov 24 '12 at 9:49


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