Person A: Hey, you are not supposed to be here.

Person B:

  1. I just wanted to see how many people had showed up.

  2. I just wanted to see how many people showed up.

  • the past perfect here is acting as the past of the present perfect.

What's the difference between them?

  1. Here it sounds like B's purpose is to count the number of people who have showed up to me moment he finishes talking with A. ( B will probably leave as soon as he's done talking with A )

  2. Here it sounds as if B's purpose is the same as #1 but he might stay longer till he's satisfied counting.

Am I correct?

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Aug 31 '17 at 20:00

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You are correct that #2 (simple past) is about what happened at that moment in the past, whereas #1 (past perfect = pluperfect = retrospective past) is about what happened prior to that moment in the past.

Note, however, that English has an irregular passive (perfect) participle for 'show' which is 'shown', not 'showed'.

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