I've seen that we should use the Perfect to say about prior events that happened at a certain time and that give us context. Now, in this sentence here:

A: Hello, Allie.

B: I don't wanna talk to you. I have geometry class now, so, can you leave?

A: Wait! I wanna know if you were the one who wrote this and put it into my locker!

B: No, it wasn't me! [...]

Instead of using Simple Past, could I use Past Perfect?

A: [...] Were you the one who had written this and put it into my locker!

And If I can, what are the differences between using the former and the latter?

I believe that:

•The former - Establishes more like an event, the focus is to narrate a past event; •The latter - Establishes a context, the focus is to say about an existencial past (that is, a past that happened).

  • 1
    If you are learning English, even as a native speaker, you should take heed of the description of the site and not post here. Try English Language Learners instead. And if you are concerned about writing good English, do not write “wanna” unless you are writing a novel reporting uneducated or colloquial conversation. – David Dec 23 '19 at 19:19

You should use the past simple here, 'who wrote this and put it into my locker!' because it's a completed action in the past, and it's happening in sequence. Like: 'I went to the shops and then I returned to the party and I danced all night...'

Lots of people struggle with the difference between the past simple and the past perfect. You can find a really neat explanation here: https://www.perfect-english-grammar.com/past-perfect.html


We use the past perfect to talk about unreal past events, like the third conditional, and to talk about actions that happened before another action in the past: 'I had left the party by the time you arrived.' we often use the past perfect with the preposition, 'by': 'By 2010, the park had been replaced by an intersection.', 'By the afternoon, we had finished all our work.'

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