I received this morning the records you sent two days ago

Today I received the records you sent or had sent last year. It took almost one year to arrive!

In the first sentence you don't need past perfect both action are almost simultaneous and the meaning is clear In the second sentence am I obliged to use past perfect or is the meaning clear enough without it. I think because of took it is better to use past perfect

  • 1
    It depends on what YOU mean: I received the record you sent last year. [no intervening event]. I received the records you had sent last year [implies something happened that is not mentioned between the receiving and the sending]. For example: I received the records you had sent last year [after the flood].
    – Lambie
    Feb 6, 2017 at 17:01
  • 3
    It would be inappropriate to use the perfect. The temporal expressions "today / this morning" + past tense convey the sequence of events.
    – BillJ
    Feb 6, 2017 at 18:50

2 Answers 2


Because of the surrounding context, the past perfect is not necessary for either of your sentences, the order of events is clear. On the other hand, both sentences would still be correct if you did use the past perfect.


There is more than one way to draw attention to the fact that a long time elapsed between the sending and the receipt of the records. You can combine time phrases with the verb tenses:

I received only today the records you sent nearly a year ago.

Let's say you are remembering the sequence of events:

It was not until November that I received the records which had been sent nearly a year earlier, in January.

  • OP is specifically asking whether to use the past perfect or not, but you don't seem to have addressed this. You've just given two examples, one using simple past and the other using past perfect - but so far as I can see they could just as easily have both used the same tense (which could be either, though as usual I'd always suggest the KISS approach). Feb 6, 2017 at 19:28
  • @FumbleFingers: I like KISS as much as the next guy, but sometimes you want the tense and time-phrases to corroborate an idea, to mark it explicitly, even if such corroboration is not absolutely necessary. I've given such an example, where one might want to emphasize with the past perfect and the time phrases the sequence of events in the past.
    – TimR
    Feb 6, 2017 at 20:09
  • But you could have used past simple were sent in the second example because a year earlier indicate clearly the moment he sent the records
    – Yves Lefol
    Feb 6, 2017 at 20:36
  • @user5577. Do you understand what the word corroboration means?
    – TimR
    Feb 7, 2017 at 2:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .