Just in case you "hadn’t noticed"

“Just in case you hadn’t noticed, there are other people on the airplane besides you. So don’t clip your toenails, snore with wild abandon, or do any type of personal business under a blanket!”

Question: Why the Past Participle tense is being used in this sentence?
Is it because it’s an imaginary situation?

Because you would notice in the past - as in before you read that sentence.

It is both in the past-continuing-into-present (which would be the present perfect: haven’t noticed), and unreal (which turns “have” into “had”, the past subjunctive). You could add “just in case you hadn’t noticed, I’d say that there are other people…”. As you can see, this sounds a tad off: the sentence would be improved by simply changing “had” into “have”, since there is no real need or function for an unreal aspect to this sentence. I presume the speaker thought it more polite to use a more indirect tense/mood.

Pardon my ignorance, I still find it quite confusing.
If the speaker wanted to be more polite, wouldn’t the simple past tense will do?
Example: “In case you didn’t notice…”

Thanks :slight_smile:

;In case you didn’t notice… would not be correct for two reasons:
‘To do’ is the wrong verb. You need ‘to have’.
Past tense does not work with the sentence following it, which makes it clear that they are still on the aircraft and are either about to begin the flight or are in flight.

As Cerebus says:
In case you haven’t noticed…
would be perfectly acceptable and more direct.

Hi Beeesneees,

I have taken this sentence off from a website. It’s something about “top ten things that stewardess won’t tell us.”
Therefore, I believe it’s not a conversation between two people; rather, some sort of advice.
That’s why I still don’t understand why the past participle is being used here.
Still, I appreciate your answers.:wink:


I hope someone would clarify these tenses below:

In case you notice - The present tense.
In case you haven’t notice - The present perfect tense.
In case you didn’t notice - The past tense.
In case you hadn’t notice - The past participle.

Question 1:Do I get my tenses right?
Question 2: I really hope that somebody will show me an example for each tense; as in, when and how do we use it. I hope it wouldn’t be much of a trouble.


It is an imaginary conversation between two people.The stewardess is confronting a passenger who is not behaving in an appropriate manner. In real life a stewardess might think these things, but would not say them (she’d lose her job).
That’s why it’s classed as one of the ‘top ten things the stewardess won’t tell us.’

However, the same tense could be used correctly if it were a real conversation. This is just one of those scenarios where two different senses will both work, and the one you use is down to other factors which we don’t know about. (We don’t know the whole situation here because it’s imaginary - we can only guess at it.)

Ricky, your tenses are not quite right. I will explain the forms and names of the tenses here.
Each verb has a base form, a he/she/it present form, a past form, a past participle form, and a present participle form, and some verbs a few more. Below are the forms of one regular and two irregular verbs:

Base form: notice - see - have
He/she/it present form: notices - sees - has
Past form: noticed - saw - had
Past participle: noticed - seen - had
Present participle: noticing - seeing - having

Both the past form and the past participle form (of regular verbs) are made by adding “(e)d” to the base form, so that they look the same - but not for irregular verbs, as you can see.

Each form is used in several tenses. Here are a few of the active tenses (there are also passive tenses):

  • Present simple: base form or he/she/it present form: I notice/see/have, he notices/sees/has
  • Infinitive: base form: (to) notice/see/have
  • Present continuous: base form or he/she/it present form + present participle: I am noticing/seeing/having
  • Past simple: past form: I noticed/saw/had
  • Past subjunctive: past form: I noticed/saw/had (only the verb “to be” is different)
  • Present perfect: present simple of “to have” + past participle: I have noticed / I have seen / I have had
  • Past perfect: past simple of “to have” + part participle: I had noticed / I had seen / I had had
  • Past perfect subjunctive: past simple of “to have” + part participle: I had noticed / I had seen / I had had

As you can see, the past subjunctive and the past simple look the same. The past subjunctive is rare, except in if-clauses. A past form in an if-clause is usually a past subjunctive. “In case” is nearly the same as “if”, so we have an if-clause in your example. All this also applies to the past perfect subjunctive. So we could have a past perfect subjunctive in your sentence. But this “hadn’t noticed” there seems to be wrong, so we’d better not spend time on that. If you want to know more about the subjunctive, I am sure you can find a page about it through Google.

“Did” is the past form of “to do”, so “I did not notice” can be either past simple or past subjunctive. “To do” usually goes with an infinitive, and an infinitive doesn’t change anything about the tense of the main verb, so “did not notice” is still past simple or past subjunctive: it is simply the negated past simple, that is the past simple with “not” added. The reason why “did” is added is that we cannot say “*I not noticed”: in modern English, we need to add a form of “to do” in negations or questions. That is except when there is an auxiliary or modal verb present: in the past perfect, the past simple of “to have” is an auxiliary verb; this means that you can simply say “I had not noticed” to negate the past perfect.

This was all about forms and names. If you want to know more about how to use the tenses, I’d need to write tens of pages; so perhaps you’d better browse this site for pages on the various tenses, or Google them.