# Relation between the events in the past

I wanted to known, what are the options I have to define the concurrent events in the past. For this purpose let's consider a context, A person first came down by the stairs and then talked to me. And the whole incident took place some days ago. Now from the bellow lines what are the right and define reason for those which are the wrong:

• a.1) He came down by the stairs and talked to me.
• a.2) He had come down by the stairs and talked to me.
• a.3) He has come down by the stairs and talked to me.

Another thing is the past perfect:

• b.1) The train had left before I reached the station.
• b.2) The train left before I reached the station.

If I am not wrong then (b.1) is right and (b.2) is wrong. But by that logic (a.1) also represents the sequential events in past but it is right where (b.2) is wrong.

• You need to say "reached it" or "got there".
– TimR
Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 11:32
• you are right, I have changed the question Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 11:37
• (b2) is not wrong. This answer, 4. How and when should I use the perfect?, especially the second examples in that answer, should clear this issue. Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 11:42
• a3 is incorrect, because "he have" is wrong; you have to conjugate it. It would at the very least be "he has". Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 13:28
• That one was a printing mistake, but thank you apart from that anything else Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 15:32

All of these sentences are correct but they mean different things.

a.1) The most basic form - a pair of things happened in the past.

a.2) Some things happend before another thing which was also in the past.

He had come down by the stairs and talked to me, by the time I remembered that it was his birthday.

In this case you remembered his birthday in the past, but after he had already spoken to you.

a.3) This is very similar to a.1 but has an implication of repeated or ongoing action.

He has come down by the stairs and is currently talking to me.

or

He has come down by the stairs and talked to me, on several occasions.

Both sentences in b) mean the same thing, but this is due to your use of the word "before". The rule is the same as in a.2. If we replace "before" with "when" we get two different meanings.

The train had left when I reached the station.

You missed your train, because it left before you arrived.

The train left when I reached the station.

You reaching the station and the train leaving both happened at the same time in the past, or sequentially, due to one causing the other.

The doors closed when the last passenger got on board.