"I don't like this," I said.

She hadn't heard me.


Can the "hadn't heard" be replaced with "didn't hear"?

  • 1
    Yes, either is possible. But they shift the viewpoint in the story; the past simply goes on with the story, but the perfect shifts the viewpoint back a little, emphasizing the past simultaneity of both events, and leaving a break in the story where something else can be discussed. – John Lawler Jul 10 '14 at 15:52

"She didn't hear me" would be grammatical, and is more likely the correct form in the given example. The choice depends on exactly what you mean.

It would be correct to write "she hadn't heard me" if, at the time when you spoke, she had already not heard you (presumably something you said earlier). It's likely that you mean "I said X, and she did not hear it"; in that case, the tense should be the same for both verbs, since the events happened in the same passage of time, in the order in which they appear in the text.

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