Questions tagged [simple-past-vs-past-perfect]

For questions about choosing between the past simple and past perfect tenses.

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69 views

MAJOR verb tense confusion - how to correctly use past perfect in a past tense narrative

Okay, scenario: In a novel set in narrative past tense, there's a sentence, "We had become friends when nobody had liked him and it had seemed no one ever would." Is the past perfect being ...
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0answers
13 views

Have arachnophobia or had arachnophobia? [migrated]

I wrote this question: Why hadn’t you said to me that you have arachnophobia before we went there? Now I’m worried I should have used this version instead: Why hadn’t you said to me that you had ...
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0answers
25 views

English / Spanish parallels and confusion

In general, I'm pretty confident and familiar about all typical uses of the past perfect tense. However, I noticed a compelling case while studying Spanish years ago. In Spanish, there's the pretérito ...
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1answer
31 views

When to use past perfect continuous and simple past tense?

What's the difference between: "I had been working for ABC for 5 years" and "I worked in ABC company for 5 years". I feel that both are correct but cannot figure out the differences.
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1answer
35 views

Past Perfect Simple vs Past Simple

By the time he had reached the door, he remembered the pink diamond. By the time he reached the door, he remembered the pink diamond. Are both sentences grammatically correct? Thank you!
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31 views

Have been or had been

I am confused about how to use was/were with person perfect has/have been..for example if I would say " they were told that they have not been introduced so far...why have been and why not had been?
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1answer
70 views

Does “I have been exposed to” imply that I still am?

I still don't seem to fully understand the difference between these three: I've been exposed to English as a kid I'd been exposed to English as a kid I was exposed to English as a kid Could someone ...
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2answers
1k views

Transformation of sentence beginning with As soon as into sentence beginning with Hardly…when

Consider this sentence: As soon as we reached the station, the train left. Now if I transform this into a sentence beginning with Hardly, then which of the following sentences is correct and why? ...
3
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1answer
100 views

The ways to indicate a state or an action which lasted and then ended at or before some point in the past?

I feel quite confused. If I want to say that something was true or was happening for a while before some point in the past, what ways does English give me to express that? If I want to express that ...
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2answers
201 views

Using Past Simple when talking about an event which was happening for a while before another event

I always thought when a person is speaking of two past events, they should use the Past Perfect tense for the earlier event. Like this: "I had been explaining (Past Perfect) this rule to you for ...
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1answer
397 views

Modal verbs and Past Perfect

Is it possible to use modal verbs in Past Perfect? I know we can use modal verb + perfect infinitive to talk about the past, e.g. I shouldn't have said that. This is Past Simple tense, isn't it? I ...
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2answers
64 views

When to use and not to use Past Perfect

This question has probably been asked many times, so I apologize in advance. I also apologize if it's too long and may not abide by all the rules. After seeing many examples of past perfect and past ...
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2answers
5k views

I just remembered or i have just remembered? [duplicate]

Suppose I wrote someone an email and told him something. After a few days, it occurred to me that I forgot to tell him about other things. What is correct in this situation: Hi marc, I have just ...
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1answer
256 views

“To do as he did” vs. “to do as he had done”

He advised me/ to do as he did/ but I did not pay any attention/ to his advice. /(No error) The answer is no error , but I think the sentence should say "to do as he had done". Why is "as he did" ...
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2answers
186 views

Past Hypothesis vs Past Condition

I know the title might look confusing, so I would like to explain it in detail here. As far as I know, we can use past perfect construction when referring to a situation that didn't happen in the ...
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2answers
111 views

What are the real rules for choosing between the simple past and past perfect when both actions are in the past?

What are the real rules for choosing past perfect versus choosing past simple when you have two different past actions? I ask because the English sequence of tenses rules I was taught would have ...
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1answer
53 views

Use of Perfect Tenses, depending on the position of the phrase 'the first time'?

Today, I AM WEARING ice skates for the first time (ever). Yesterday, I WORE ice skates for the first time (ever). Tomorrow, I WILL WEAR ice skates for the first time (ever). with the phrase 'for the ...
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0answers
23 views

Which tense is appropriate? Simple or Perfect? [duplicate]

Consider the following two sentences: Many buildings were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. Many buildings had been destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. Which is appropriate, and why? I think ...
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2answers
485 views

Completed action in the past lead to an ongoing action - which tense to use?

I am a bit confused about the proper tense for the following situation. I try to make an example: A couple of weeks ago I talked to someone. We have not talked or communicated in any way again since ...
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1answer
65 views

Using 'had been' as opposed to 'was'

I cannot figure out which version of this sentence sounds better. After Cortés’s army had been surrounded by Montezuma’s soldiers, this alliance turned out to be critical to Cortés’ victory. Or ...
2
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1answer
566 views

Had never had/never had - past perfect vs simple past

This would probably be considered a duplicate, but I looked at the other similar questions and still can't figure out what to do in this instance. Would simple past or past perfect be better here? ...
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1answer
2k views

“You mentioned that you want” vs. “You had mentioned that you wanted” [duplicate]

How to say it in a right way and why? 1. In your advertisement, you had mentioned that you wanted to know about... 2. In your advertisement, you mentioned that you want to know about... Thank you ...
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1answer
385 views

A question regarding “had” vs “had had” [duplicate]

Which one you would choose? I really had had a pleasant meal until you came OR I really had a pleasant meal until you came I personally think that both are correct, but I am interested to see ...
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1answer
180 views

Shouldn't the first verb in “she died before I was born” be in the past perfect?

Quote from English book: Sadly, I never got to meet her because she died before I was born. I think it should be: Sadly, I never got to meet her because she "had" died before I was born. I think ...
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1answer
115 views

Learning about the difference between past simple and past perfect

I've been reading about the difference between past simple and past perfect and I've found that when a series of events are narrated in order past simple is the one to be used. When the events aren't ...
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4answers
10k views

“You've come to the right place!” vs “You came to the right place!” [closed]

I have to write this on a website, which one is better? Are you looking for [...](description of our service)? You've come / You came to the right place!
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1answer
72 views

Past Perfect or Past Simple in the sentence where there are two events [duplicate]

which option is correct in the following sentence? I ___ for my exam all morning so I was really upset when I didn't do well. a) revised b) had revised I would say that both options ...
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2answers
4k views

“Ever + past perfect” vs “ever + simple past”

Hi there can any native speaker please tell me the difference between these two sentences. I have seen "past perfect" is rarely used In english. I know the first sentence is correct but in movies, ...
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3answers
2k views

What is the meaning of: “When I was in New York, I had visited the Statue of Liberty”?

When I was in New York, I visited the Statue of Liberty. When I was in New York, I had visited the Statue of Liberty. What is the meaning of sentence 2? Is it the same as sentence 1? Does it mean ...
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1answer
664 views

(Past Perfect and Simple past) What is the difference between these sentences? [closed]

In my point of view these two are the same and both talk about two actions that respectively was done in the past. But which one is correct and what is the difference between them if there is any? ...
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1answer
4k views

Present Perfect or Past Simple in 'Where have you put / did you put the car keys?' Degrees of annoyance?

In such a question, what is most commonly done by native speakers of English: focus on the past action of you putting the car keys somewhere – somewhere not-too-logical-seeming? Where did you put ...
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2answers
1k views

Past perfect or Simple Past: “I had [had] a hard day” [duplicate]

Question : I was really tired last night. I ______________ (have) a hard day. Which one of the two is correct sentence and why? (by the way I wrote the second one.) I was really tired last night. ...
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2answers
537 views

Tense simplification in subordinate clauses - past perfect instead of would have

in Michael Swan's "Practical English Usage" he states in entry 580.6 ("past instead of would ..."): "would, like will, is avoided in subordinate clauses; instead, we generally use past verbs". He also ...
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5answers
2k views

Why is “had” ok in “What he had just said, especially that final sentence, really enlightened me”?

I’m writing a short prose piece for an academic audience and need to know whether the following sentence sounds right, especially its first clause: What he had just said, especially that final ...
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2answers
749 views

Sequence of tenses in reported speech [duplicate]

I've found it in a book and assume it's got to be correct, but I cannot understand why the Past Perfect of I had been offered. Would was offered not have been clearer? I explained that when I was in ...
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1answer
15k views

Past or present perfect in: “The ball fell down” or “The ball has fallen down” [closed]

I dropped something onto the floor just now. What verb tense would be appropriate to describe the situation right after falling? The ball fell down The ball has fallen down
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1answer
1k views

Is there past tense form of 'got'? [closed]

Is 'gotten' the past tense form of 'got' or is there even a word gotten?
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2answers
332 views

“She had lost her consciousness last night at pub after having several cocktails”. Is this sentence grammatical? [closed]

She had lost her consciousness last night at the pub after having several cocktails. Is the use of had (the past perfect tense) right here?
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1answer
915 views

Past tense progression [duplicate]

My mother was raised in a family that had placed extreme importance on filial piety. Is had superfluous, wrong, or correct? I can see arguments in both directions: Perfect past (raised) requires ...
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2answers
2k views

Tenses with “until then” - Is past perfect needed or is it optional?

If I understood correctly, "until now" can be "until then" in the past sentences. Would this be correct? 1) It was a new approach that was never successfully performed until then. or should I use ...
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3answers
419 views

Past Perfect VS Past Simple: suffer [duplicate]

Is there any difference at all between these two sentences? Why would a native speaker choose one over the other? a) She had suffered from asthma when she was very young. b) She suffered from asthma ...
2
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3answers
257 views

Conditional sentences - which is correct?

If I had bought insurance for the trip, I would have got a refund after I got sick and had to cancel. OR If I had bought insurance for the trip, I would have got a refund after I had got sick and (...
2
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2answers
11k views

using past perfect in a 'by the time' clause instead of simple past

How would using past perfect in a 'by the time' clause affect the meaning differently from using the common formula (past simple in the 'by the time clause' plus past perfect in the main clause). For ...
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1answer
231 views

Do dietitians 'teach'? And confusion between present perfect vs past simple [closed]

Is the given sentence correct grammatically and semantically? A consulting dietitian by profession, Tina has enjoyed teaching young children about healthy eating habits for over a decade. I feel ...
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4answers
2k views

“I left before they had decided what to do” Why is 'decided' in the past perfect?

I left before they had decided what to do. Is this because this is a past version of "I leave before they have decided what to do"? Because "left" doesn't come before "decided".
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3answers
354 views

Simple past sounds better but past perfect seems more accurate

I think it's grammatically more accurate to say,"The market was closed after a virus had been found." However, it sounds "better" to say,"The market was closed after a virus was found." Grammatically, ...
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1answer
503 views

Is past perfect necessary when you are talking in chronological order?

I have a question about using past perfect. I know that it's used when you want to refer to an older past event while talking about a more recent past event. But if you begin talking about past events ...
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1answer
913 views

Using Past Perfect after an event

While reading a book, I came across some sentences that used past-perfect "after" an event had taken place. Actually, I've seen many books do this, so this must be the grammatically correct way, but I'...
16
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2answers
703k views

When do we use “had had” and “have had”? [duplicate]

I have seen several sentences in English where some writers have written had twice in a row. I am a bit confused about when the grammar calls for using had had. For example: I had had my car ...