I notice a great many American speakers using the construction had loved as a preterite, that is, a simple past tense. I also hear the simple past tense used in instances in which I was taught to use the past perfect tense.
Is this a widespread trend, to use the past perfect construction as a past tense construction, and to use the past tense instead of the past perfect tense to indicate action that precedes the past action that has just been mentioned?
Before I met her I heard about her
Before I met her I had heard about her
I had heard about her yesterday for the first time."
Neither Microsoft Word nor WordPerfect likes it when I use the string had had. For example,
By the time he got to Phoenix, he had had enough to drink to make him stagger."
Is the past perfect disappearing from American usage? Is it also disappearing from British usage? And is the past perfect construction being widely used as a simple past?