We commonly use the past perfect in reported clauses where the reporting verb is in the past. Cambridge Dictionary

I noticed it is common not to follow the above rule:

HSBC also pointed out it managed to increase market share in Hong Kong and Singapore. BBC

Why don't they use past perfect?

  • I clicked on the link to see the full article, then I tried searching for "pointed", but my browser couldn't find it. Feb 21, 2017 at 6:08
  • I could not find any thing related to the stetment even :o anyway, if you want to see it there you can google "HSBC also pointed out it managed to increase market share in Hong Kong and Singapore"
    – Shannak
    Feb 21, 2017 at 6:11
  • 1
    See this: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/5461/…. There is no one correct answer. I tend more towards the it requires less thinking of the speaker, etc. explanation, but who knows. Feb 21, 2017 at 9:34
  • 1
    @TeacherKSHuang that link discusses AmE, where I would agree the rules are not as strict. But this source is from the BBC, referring to a rule of style from the Cambridge Dictionary, so I would expect agreement. It's an interesting question. Maybe the BBC is getting lazy?
    – Andrew
    Feb 24, 2017 at 23:20
  • @Andrew, four words (and an emoticon): Globalization :). I hadn't flagged this as a duplicate. Had merely been steering the OP in the direction of other like queries. Feb 25, 2017 at 9:37

2 Answers 2


It comes down to a difference in emphasis and style. "managed" sounds more aggressive/powerful/proactive than "had managed". It emphasizes the fact that they did it, rather than that it has been done. They want credit for it. If they wanted to emphasize simply that it had already taken place, then "had managed" might be better.

Also, if you want to keep a busy person's attention, it is best to avoid unnecessary words. The topic here seems to be business or finance, and the context is probably some kind of news reporting. All of these demand a terse, practical style. For instance, they didn't use "that it managed" because "that" is unnecessary to say or hear.


The rule referred to is about Back shifting and it is commonly followed in indirect speech to maintain tense harmony: main verb(reporting verb) in the past, all other verbs (reported verbs) must also be of past view point. However, there are situations where natural sequence of tense is more important. So we are taught not to change the tense if the main verb is in present/ future tense i.e, we are assuming ourselves at the point of time of the main verb(reporting) and use the tense of the verb as one would have used then.

However, Wikipedia in an article on indirect speech holds that it is also possible to use the natural sequence even though the main verb(reporting verb) is past or conditional.

  • Batman said that he needs a special key for the batmobile.

Elucidating the view point, it goes on to say that this opinion is used in situations when the reporter reporting the words agrees that they are true or valid and the circumstances being expressed remain equally true now as it did when the 'Speech Act' took place.

The example is a newspaper report, not an indirect speech in the strictest sense of the term. The situation narrated equally holds good at the point of reporting; it should not be further distanced in time.

HSBC also POINTED OUT (that) it MANAGED to ... Singapore.

The use as above is proper and fit.

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