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Take for example:

I met Raschel three years ago. He represented a small company of which he was also the proprietor. He came to show the presentation of his product plan. Many companies, big and small, sent their representatives to grab this opportunity. The board held a meeting and decided to call upon companies specializing in these products.

I have few queries:

  1. Is it appropriate to start the second line with "He came" or it should be "He had come"?

  2. The last line, when checked with www.paperrater.com, gets underline under "held a meeting". What is the proper way to replace these words?

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call upon companies sounds very old-fashioned. Perhaps you mean they decided on a call for tender or decided to contact – mplungjan Apr 12 '11 at 7:46
up vote 5 down vote accepted

He had come would be correct, as that is past perfect—the timeframe of the past is the "I met Raschel", but by that time, Raschel had already come, so you want to go into the past even further, which is the past perfect tense, also known as the pluperfect tense.

As for held a meeting, paperrater.com marks it as a cliche. A cliche is a phrase that is overused a lot, but personally, I don't agree with it—the construction is perfectly fine to use. If, however, you really want to replace it, you could go with the shorter phrase "The board met and decided...".

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I agree with waiwai933. "He had come" – user7295 Apr 12 '11 at 9:03

Both tenses are possible. With came, you present came and sent as a plain sequence of events, as in "I came, I saw, I conquered"; with had come, the had come sentence is presented as background information to the sent sentence. In either case, the first sentence precedes the second in time (this is how context works).

If you are going on about this meeting for a while, describing it in more detail, it would probably be more natural to present his coming as background information. However, even in that case, I have seen the past simple used in exactly the same way in works of literature, though it may sound a bit epic or affected; so you will not be alone. But my choice would be had come.

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He came to show the presentation of his product plan.

is the right one

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protected by RegDwigнt Jul 23 '12 at 15:14

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