Page 59 of Learner English: A Teacher's Guide to Interference reads:

There is a tense in French which is formed like the English past perfect, and its usage corresponds generally to the English tense. But it can also be used when the action spoken about is separated from the present by facts that are common knowledge to the speakers - even though they may not be mentioned:

‘Yes, I am in Room 232.’ *‘But I had asked for a double room!’

Is the sentence really ungrammatical though?

  • 3
    What is your question? Dec 3, 2022 at 13:22
  • Why is the Learner English text talking about French? Dec 3, 2022 at 15:47
  • 2
    @TinfoilHat Interference between English and the students' languages is the subject of this book: This updated edition is a practical reference guide which compares the relevant features of a student's own language with English, helping teachers to predict and understand the problems their students have.
    – jlliagre
    Dec 3, 2022 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


You're right that the example presented as ungrammatical in that book is not truly ungrammatical in English.

People certainly can use the past perfect in English for these situations, just as they do in French.

And while it might be more common to use a simple (meaning non-compound) past in this scenario, there's nothing "wrong" with the past perfect version in English here.

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