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"And then the satellite," Molly offered. "Exactly. The satellite. The problem was, the Glemots thought they found another natural discovery. They saw this tech as something handed down..."

QUESTION: Could the found be replaced by had found as in

"And then the satellite," Molly offered. "Exactly. The satellite. The problem was, the Glemots thought they had found another natural discovery. They saw this tech as someting handed down..."

I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation why the past simple is being used in the first sentence but to me it sounds like they found another natural discovery after the "thinking" part, although they clearly found it before the "thinking" part

I hope this makes some sense to anyone, sorry if not

Thanks for your help

  • Can you add a little more surrounding context to the question? Just based on what you have there, had found makes much more sense to me. I'd definitely use had found instead of found. – WendiKidd Jan 12 '14 at 18:15
  • I appreciate your feedback. However, I'm not sure what else I should add. That's how it is written in the book, maybe it's really an oversight or stylistic preference like nxx suggested. I'd really love to hear StoneyB's opinion about it. Thanks again – Inda Jan 12 '14 at 19:13
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    One possible way to explain why the past perfect is not needed is, according to Walter, If the sequence is clear, the past perfect is not needed. – Damkerng T. Jan 12 '14 at 19:34
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Of course it can. After the verbs: think remember find realise know imagine say tell, when they are in the simple past tense, we use the past perfect tense to describe what had already happened. example: "I realised that I had forgotten my keys." However, if we have two actions which happened immediately one after the other in the past, then we can also use the past simple instead of the past perfect simple to describe the action that had happened first , without any difference in meaning. example: I felt nervous after I dropped the glass. / I felt nervous after I had dropped the glass. This is probably the case here.

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Indeed, "had found" would be much better. I can't think of "a reasonable explanation why the past simple is being used" there, other than it being due to an oversight or stylistic preference in what is informal usage (aka poetic licence).

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