-1

I'm a little bit confused about the grammar used in the following two sentences:

1.) (...) looking back at it, it was the best decision I have ever made 2.) (...) looking back at it, it was the best decision I had ever made

I personally would choose the former one simply due to the reason that it sounds more natural to me! However, I have heard using native speakers (England) the second form as well! I'm not sure now if that's just bad grammar on their part or if it's actually grammatically correct!

Thank you in advance

  • This question belongs on English Language Learners. – Kris Jul 3 '15 at 9:47
  • Do some reading on "continuity of tenses". We'd normally say "it was the best decision I had ever made" (past) or "it is the best decision I have ever made" (present). – Karasinsky Jul 3 '15 at 11:25
1

The past perfect ("had made") talks about completed action in past time from some past reference point. So I would say "I had made a lot of bad decisions before I joined Alcoholics Anonymous." All those bad choices happened before I joined AA.

The present perfect ("have made") talks about completed action in past time as recorded from right now. So I would say "Joining AA was the best decision I have ever made." That covers any decision up to the present.

For a helpful timeline chart depicting the meaning of English tenses go here.

  • Hm. I see that you mixed up the tenses, and the mixture of tenses, I think, usually results in incorrect grammar. Chasly from UK marked it incorrect, but I know that Brits are more strict on petty aspects of grammar. But still... is mixing up tenses grammatical for this usage? Or is it some special case involving "perfect case ever"?? Is it colloquial? – sooeithdk Jul 19 '16 at 18:04
  • @sooeithdk At first I thought you mean that I will have confused the tenses. But now I think you meant that I put them together inaptly. Certainly, there are admixtures of both tense and time that aren't permitted. (My first sentence in this comment, for example.) But we find that we have often mixed tenses and will continue to do so. Like that. Perhaps you could sharpen your rule about the prohibition against "mixing up tenses." – deadrat Jul 19 '16 at 22:40
-1

It was the best decision I had ever made. (correct - past tense)

It is the best decision I have ever made. (correct - present tense)

It was the best decision I have ever made. (incorrect but commonly used - mixture of tenses)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.