The company would demand a payment since she (missed)/(had missed) the last.

'had missed' is correct here because it happened during some time in the past before scecific event(deadline of period when it's allowed to pay).

But is 'missed' ok to use here? This is like single event in the past.

If needed, there's full sentence:

Out of that there was food to buy for the two of them, Estella's school fees, plus rent of the tiny flat they lived in; also the finance company would demand a payment since she (missed)/(had missed) the last.

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    They're both all right. That's normal. In fact, it's hard to make a sentence where past perfect is required. I wonder why grammar teachers and test makers concentrate on it so much; it's really quite unimportant, compared to many other topics in English grammar. Commented Nov 15, 2015 at 17:19
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    Does this answer your question? Simple past vs. past perfect
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 16, 2022 at 12:51

1 Answer 1


Past tense verbs describing different times can co-exist in a sentence. For example:

Despite the fact that the professor did not accept my idea a week ago, he allowed me to validate the idea yesterday.

So, it is natural to say:

The company would demand a payment since she missed the last.

There would be several reasons to use the past perfect with other past tense verbs.

You need to clearly show which happened first. You would like to emphasize earlier events. Sometimes, it is emotional. (there may be some more)

My advice to write such sentences is:

Take it easy. Just write with past tense verbs. Then see if it is enough to convey what you want to say.

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