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So a story that is told primarily in simple past has the following sentence:

He had to shake him out of his trance and pointed at the battle.

Should 'pointed' follow the same tense as 'shake' and hence be 'point' or is it fine to mix in the simple past after the past perfect, in the sense of not being connected to that tense anymore ?

  • Past Perfect would be He had had to shake him out of his trance and had pointed at the battle. – FumbleFingers Nov 20 '18 at 13:05
  • Did "he" (the first guy) point to the battle, or did he have to point to the battle? – Scott Nov 21 '18 at 4:43
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"He had to shake" is not past perfect, that would be "He had shaken". "Had to [infinitive]" is the simple past of "have to [infinitive]".

Both "pointed" and "point" would be grammatical but they would mean different things:

He had to shake him out of his trance and [he] pointed at the battle.

Here, "pointed" fulfils the same role as "had to", sharing the subject "he".

He had to shake him out of his trance and [he had to] point at the battle.

Here, "point" fulfils the same role as "shake", being subordinate to "had to".

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