So I asked a question that I knew I had asked a long time ago and actually made me think...

"Am I the only one whose program went back to how it previously was or not?"

The aforementioned quotation was my question and I started thinking if it should be "how it previously had been" since there are two actions in the sentence. One of which, "went back to", preceding the other one, meaning one action comes before the other, so perhaps should have put the past perfect tense to use?


There is not much difference in either expression.

The subtle difference is this:

‘was’ - the system went back to how it ‘was’ - has more of the sense of how the system ‘was’ - ‘in a single moment of time’. For example ‘the system went back to how it was last Wednesday at 3pm’.

‘had been’ - the system went back to ‘how it had been’ - for a continuous length of time - for example “the system went back to ‘how it had been’ in ‘Release 3.1’ - which had been active and installed from April 2016 until July 2018.”

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