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I feel really confused with the sequence of tenses sometimes. I am trying to explain where my problem is. Suppose, I have three different sentences which I want to express in two sentences.

1) I played cricket on Sunday.

2) I watched a movie before playing cricket.

3)I met my cousin on Sunday morning.

After joing first two sentences, we get :

"I had watched a movie before playing cricket on Sunday. "

Now for the third sentence which I want to join in the second line, which tense should I use?

Will it be past perfect again as it happend before another action?

"I had watched a movie before playing cricket on Sunday. I had met my cousin on Sunday morning. "

Even after 5 or 6 sentences if I want to say something which happend even beofre Sunday,  which tense should I use?

Could someone please explain how I can solve my problem?

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    If you are simply reporting on the things you did last Sunday, you can just use the past tense for all of them (I did A, then B. then C.). The past perfect is only appropriate if you are describing the cricket match and then want to refer to something that happened earlier. (My cousin came to the cricket match. I had met him at the station that morning.) – Kate Bunting May 23 '20 at 7:21
  • In your first example "I had watched a movie before playing cricket on Sunday", you might say that the perfect is redundant because the past/anterior meaning is conveyed by "before". Just say "I watched a movie before playing cricket on Sunday". – BillJ May 23 '20 at 7:42
  • @BillJ I know I can write that way too but this doesn’t answer my problem. I want to know if my first sentence is in past tense, second sentence is in past perfect, then which tense will my third sentence be if it happened before the second sentence? I know I can write all the actions in one sentence and it will be very clear but I want to write in three different sentences to solve my confusion. – techie z May 23 '20 at 7:57
  • @KateBunting Suppose, I had called him before I met him. Which tense should I use in the third sentence? Should it be : "My cousin came to the cricket match. I had met him at the station that morning. I had called him."? But it sounds wrong to me! Please explain. – techie z May 23 '20 at 8:06
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    "My cousin came to the cricket match. I had met him at the station that morning. I had called him." possibly sounds wrong because it has problematic cohesion between the second and third sentences. It sounds ok to me if the third sentence is expanded to make the text as a whole more cohesive: "My cousin came to the cricket match. I had met him at the station that morning. I had called him beforehand to find out when the train was due to arrive. See: thoughtco.com/what-is-cohesion-composition-1689863 – Shoe May 23 '20 at 8:51
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After joining the first two sentences, we get : "I had watched a movie before playing cricket on Sunday. "

As general guidance, we only get this in written narrative. The past perfect is used mainly in written narrative, in a slightly formal manner, in order to set the scene and/or give the context to an event that will be recounted in the simple past. (In your example, this is “playing cricket.”)

In spoken narrative, e.g. talking to a friend, the simple past is enough, and thus you will have "I watched a movie before playing cricket on Sunday."

Now for the third sentence, which I want to join in the second line, which tense should I use?

In written narrative it will be

"I had met my cousin on Sunday morning and we had watched a movie, we then played cricket."

In conversation, it would be

"I met my cousin on Sunday morning, we watched a movie and then we played cricket."

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  • I have some more doubts. Please look: "I had met my cousin on Sunday morning and we had watched a movie, we then played cricket." (................). If I want to add something between the brackets which event happened before everything I explained in the first place, which tense should I use? – techie z May 23 '20 at 9:23
  • If the added event happened before everything else, you would have to use the past perfect - but surely that makes the sentence unnecessarily complicated? – Kate Bunting May 23 '20 at 11:01
  • @techiez Could you give an example of what you want to add between the brackets? – Greybeard May 23 '20 at 11:51
  • @Greybeard I had met my cousin on Sunday morning and we had watched a movie, we then played cricket. ................ ................. .................. .................. ................... The above (dot) five sentences happend after we played cricket. Now I want to want add a sentence which had happened just before I met my cousin. Suppose,I want to say " I was hijacked " Then which tense should I use? – techie z May 23 '20 at 14:44
  • In WRITTEN narrative it will be: "I had met my cousin on Sunday morning, we had watched a movie, and then had played cricket - and then we were hijacked." As I said actions that set the scene/give the context to the main event (being hijacked) are in the past perfect. ++ In CONVERSATION, it would be "I met my cousin on Sunday morning, we watched a movie, and then played cricket - and then we were hijacked." – Greybeard May 23 '20 at 15:31

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