It is not such a pretty place as I (expected / had expected / have expected).

Which is the correct tense to use here ? I am not able to figure out any difference in the meaning of the three difference tenses used here.

Edit : I used google translate to translate it in my native language, have expected sounds wrong to me here but still had expected and expected seem to convey almost same meaning.

  • both "expected" and "had expected" are grammatical but mean slightly different things, so you'll have to add more details Jul 9, 2017 at 9:24
  • 1
    Google Translate is extremely unreliable. Read this answer for another language about how Google Translate works, and you'll see why its translations have no clue about grammar.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Jul 9, 2017 at 15:25

2 Answers 2


You are right that I have expected is incorrect, since have relates to a completed action, and expect is not really an action.

I expected is past simple, and relates to something that happened before now. I had expected is past perfect, which relates to something that happened before some event in the past.

The verb is is present, so we are talking about the situation now: what we expected is before now, so simple past is correct.

It is not such a pretty place as I expected.

You might use present perfect if the main verb were in the past, though past simple would also work, because there is no real event and what you expected is both before now and before the was.

It was not such a pretty place as I had expected.
It was not such a pretty place as I expected.

  • 1
    It's also possible to say "as I had been expecting" or "as I have been expecting", but with a very specific nuance.
    – Andrew
    Jul 8, 2017 at 17:09
  • @Andrew, true: what do you think that the nuance is?
    – JavaLatte
    Jul 8, 2017 at 17:22
  • Maybe the continuous tenses stress more on the expectation of the subject? Like when a kid is really expecting their Christmas gift is an iPad, which turns out is not?
    – Ooker
    Jul 8, 2017 at 17:36

Correct: It is not such a pretty place as I expected.

'as I expected' is an idiom. In line expression may like:

She's not so old-looking as I expected.

More info: http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/as+I+expected

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