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

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

13
votes
4answers
6k 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!
12
votes
2answers
655k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
24k views

Why do people sometimes use the past perfect form of a verb when the past would suffice? (e.g. “you had mentioned”)

I noticed that my American friends tend to use the past perfect form when they use the verb mention in its past form, almost despite of the context of the sentence. I hear them say "you had mentioned"...
8
votes
3answers
599 views

What difference does using 'had' make to those two verb tenses, and if so, what is it?

What is the difference between if I had studied and if I studied? Can you provide an example of when one usage would be more appropriate than the other?
6
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
1k 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".
4
votes
4answers
68k views

“we spent together” or “we have spent together”?

Seeing as 2010 has just recently ended, which is grammatically more correct? Thanks everybody for the great 2010 moments we spent together! vs Thanks everybody for the great 2010 moments we've ...
3
votes
2answers
12k views

“Until” and past perfect

Having seen one sentence in "Practical English Usage" by M.Swan (a very popular grammar book), I was really puzzled. I waited until the rain had stopped. The past perfect is generally used to show ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Present perfect vs. Past perfect for finished actions [duplicate]

When is the perfect tense used? All examples illustrating perfect are always answer to the same question. So there is no way when I can simply said: I have written a note or I had written a ...
3
votes
1answer
953 views

American native speaker and perfect tenses

Yesterday I sent my friend a useful gift in online game. Today I can see he has not accepted it yet. Which sentence is grammatically correct and most natural in American English? "You didn't use ...
3
votes
3answers
6k views

Should the past perfect be eschewed?

The past perfect serves a purpose: When describing things that happened in the past, it allows us to discuss things that happened before (i.e., in the past’s past). However, a procession of had, had, ...
3
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
423 views

Choosing Past Simple or Past Perfect: Do I need “had” here?

Do I need "had" here? If yes, do I need to change "did" to "done"? A: Lucy accidentally broke her mum’s favorite cup yesterday. B: Oh! I think her mom was really angry at her, right? A: ...
2
votes
2answers
84 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

When not to use past perfect?

In a recent question: Past perfect or past simple in combination with present perfect? the asker presented three options. I have examined the document you gave me and... I have examined the ...
2
votes
2answers
129 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
243 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
votes
1answer
138 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? ...
2
votes
1answer
454 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Simple past vs. past perfect

Which is correct to use in the following example, simple past or past perfect? We were completely in the dark after the wind blew the candle out. We were completely in the dark after the wind ...
1
vote
3answers
482 views

Past Simple and Past Perfect Simple with 'already'

Do these two sentences have the same meaning? When we arrived, David had already got home and When we arrived, David was already home
1
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3answers
2k views

Past perfect or past simple in combination with present perfect?

Suppose I received a document from my colleague, studied it and then gave him feedback in a letter. How should I construct the following sentense? I have examined the document you gave me and... ...
1
vote
3answers
348 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, ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Simple Past or Past Perfect

If I went to a place last night where I needed to show an id, but I forgot to have it on me. So if in the morning I was speaking to a friend(reporting on what happened), which one of the following ...
1
vote
1answer
87 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
367 views

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

in Michael Swan's "Practical English Usage" he states in the entry 580.6 ("past instead of would ..."): "would, like will, is avoided in subordinate clauses; instead, we generally use past verbs". He ...
1
vote
3answers
245 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
444 views

Present and past perfect dilemma

This sentence is giving me trouble: For several days I (have/had) not had the chance to see her until a few hours ago. I think had is correct because the time reference is a few hours ago, which ...
1
vote
1answer
2k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
11k 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
1
vote
1answer
797 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
995 views

Past vs Past Perfect

While writing a paper for my English class, I couldn't decided whether past or past perfect tense was needed. It's basically about how a guy whose house is destroyed because the government wants to ...
1
vote
1answer
19k views

Use of “had said” in the “The Archers”

In the BBC radio drama The Archers, the following conversation takes place: A:             David, you are not going to say what you saw. You love your family, right? David:   What? A:     ...
1
vote
5answers
972 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
33k views

When to use “I was … ” and when “I had been … ”? [closed]

I guess it's about simple past vs. past perfect usage but some examples are welcomed, I'm really not sure if I understand it correctly. EDIT: Right, probably I should be more specific. The thing is ...
0
votes
1answer
68 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
718 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. ...
0
votes
1answer
852 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'...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Simple past or past perfect in this example

In the following examples: When I was five years old I had a dog. Is this a past perfect sentence? Here, I know that the 'dog' is not a verb and because we use third form of verb after 'had' so this ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Simple past vs. Past perfect [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another? What's the difference between the following two sentences? I had finished reading the book yesterday. I ...
0
votes
2answers
3k 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, ...
0
votes
2answers
655 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
26 views

Had usage problem [migrated]

1)India won the toss and decided to bowl. why not 2)India had won the toss and decided to bowl. As the event of winning the toss occurred first.
0
votes
1answer
29 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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
535 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
67 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
37 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 ...