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I have a question regarding determining the sequence of events.

"It is taking her a bit longer than usual to get back on the game because she had come back from Germany last night. So I gave her a friendly warning just now and she promised me that she would try her best to pull herself together.

  1. "It is taking her a bit longer than usual..."—happening now, so I used present tense

  2. "had come back from Germany last night"—about last night, so I used past perfect

  3. "I gave her a friendly warning just now"—about what happened a bit before now, so I used simple past.

Is this logic correct? According to what I've learned so far, I think I must use "had come back", since I was talking about what is now ("it is taking her a bit longer than usual...") before talking about her come back from Germany, and I talked about what happened about 10 minutes ago after talking about last night. But then, I do think that I'm kind of reporting events in chronological order and "had come back" just sounds so weird to me. Can you please advise?

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closed as off-topic by user49727, Mari-Lou A, Rory Alsop, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, MrHen Oct 4 '13 at 13:21

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Since you are not relating when she got back last night to another past event, you can just use simple past: "...because she got back from Germany last night." Also I think you mean "back in the game" –  Jim May 3 '13 at 4:14
    
Wow, this is difficult. So, when she got back last night isn't really related to why she's not her usual self? –  Pato May 3 '13 at 5:02
    
It is but it's not a past event, she is taking longer (present) because she just got back. (simple past). IF you'd said, "She wasn't herself yesterday because she'd just gotten back from Germany the night before." That'd be different. –  Jim May 3 '13 at 5:37
    
This is a good question. However, I am afraid you may not be able to benefit from answers on ELU. You should post the question on English Language Learners: ell.stackexchange.com -- meta: deserves migration. –  Kris May 3 '13 at 6:11
1  
Just in passing ... being on the game means something quite particular. –  Andrew Leach May 4 '13 at 19:59

2 Answers 2

The tenses are all over the place.

It is taking her a bit longer than usual to get back on the game because she came back from Germany last night*,* so I've (just) given her a friendly warning and she's promised me that she will try her best to pull herself together.

Came back is fine for the first part of the sentence because the first verb is taking is present tense, so there is no need to take a further step back in time to past perfect.

I don't think the full stop is correct as this sentence works perfectly well as two coordinating sentences.

If you use the present perfect tense in the second sentence the idea of recent past action and present consequence will be within the verb and would remove the awkward use of language by writing just now. If you feel it should be there, put just where I've suggested.

She has promised me that she would try her best.. is reported speech and would normally be expressed with would, but as it was just now, we can assume that it is still true, and as a style point, I would prefer to use will.

I'm also not really keen on on the game, but it sounds as awkward as in the game to me. I'm sure there is a better way of expressing this although it does depend on context.

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There is simply no need to use past perfect. She came back last night; the fact that you are saying something about what is going on today does not change that fact. "It is taking her a bit longer than usual because she came back last night" is perfectly fine, and correct. Putting it into the past perfect is actually incorrect.

You would need to use past perfect ONLY if you were talking about two events that occurred at different times in the past, such as: "She had returned last night by the time she phoned me."

Your confusion stems from the fact that you are thinking this IS the case (two past events at different times), but the two past events are not linked. If you said, "she had come back before she promised me," THEN you would need past perfect. But as it is, you are simply talking about two things that happened in the past, and you are not relating them in any particularly interdependent way.

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