In the following sentence,

Before going out, I phoned Sarah.

Is it correct and whether I must have written HAD PHONED instead of PHONED?

1 Answer 1


The simple past (phoned) gives a completed action in time past from the point of view of right now. The past perfect (had phoned) gives a completed action before a past reference point (here, before you went out). Given the semantics of the sentences, the meaning is the same.

Note that the past perfect is formed with "had" and the past participle of the verb. The past perfect of "to phone" is "had phoned." A gerund is the present participle (-ing form) used as a noun.

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