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"This is not the first time that the Bollywood actor has been detained at a US airport. In 2012, Shah Rukh Khan was detained at New York airport for over two hours by immigration officials. The US customs and border protection authorities had expressed "profound" apologies for the Shah Rukh Khan's detention then." The Times of India

Why did the reporter use a combination of Past Simple and Past Perfect tenses in above news?

In this paragraph the reporter wants to refer event/news before current news. The reporter has used Past Simple tense for event of Shah Rukh Khans arrest i.e. in 2012. Then he used Past Perfect tense for "immigration officials had expressed apologies for that event."

I am confused which event occurred first; Shah Rukh Kans detention or apology of officials. Why was had apologized used? Logically, detention first and then apology after release. But as per paragraph; apologized first and then detention. Why was use of Simple Past first and then Past Perfect?

A per my understanding report should be like this

"This is not the first time that the Bollywood actor has been detained at a US airport. In 2012, Shah Rukh Khan HAD BEEN detained at New York airport for over two hours by immigration officials. The US customs and border protection authorities had expressed "profound" apologies for the Shah Rukh Khan's detention then."

Correct me if I am wrong.

  • "Past perfect" is a little bit of a confusing name, because it's really relating the present to the past. The way to think about past simple or past perfect is: are we talking about something back then, or something as of now? In 2012, Mr. Khan was detained. As of right now, he has been detained. – stangdon Aug 12 '16 at 12:56
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I think that both the original article and your alternative version are violations of FumbleFingers' Perfect Truism, namely ”Don’t use Past Perfect unless you really have to.”

The text makes perfect sense if you eliminate all of the past perfects:

This is not the first time that the Bollywood actor has been detained at a US airport. In 2012, Shah Rukh Khan was detained at New York airport for over two hours by immigration officials. The US customs and border protection authorities expressed "profound" apologies for the Shah Rukh Khan's detention then.

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