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Can we use Time expression while forming past perfect tense in any context?

e.g.

(a) Yesterday we had gone to mall.

(b) Last year court had directed police to arrest him.

(c) We had gone to the movies last night.

https://www.englishgrammar.org/correct-sentences/

  • You can use it, but only relative to a later event, e.g., "We had gone to the mall last night looking for our friend but it turned out later that she had stayed home." – Robusto Feb 22 '18 at 4:01
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The past perfect indicates that an action started in the past and ended in the past before the more recent present. If you use past perfect on its own without specifying a more recent situation it can often imply a contrast to the past event.

Yesterday we had gone to (the) mall.
But today we will do something else.

Last year court had directed police to arrest him.
But he is on the loose.
This year the court directed something else.

We had gone to the movies last night.
But tonight we will do something else.

What happens after the past perfect event is of course dependent on context.

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In the link provided you can find the following corrections:

  1. We went to the movies last night.

  2. I spoke to them about my holiday. (The past perfect tense is not used to say that something happened in the past. It is used to indicate the earlier of the two past actions.)

Quite like the explanation given for #3, the reason for the correction in #2 is that it is the only event being discussed. There sentence reports an event that occurred in the past, so past simple should be used.

You can think of the past perfect as a way to describe a "past of a past", or a past event with a state of completeness (perfect) at an earlier time. The earlier time can be specified with a time expression. For example:

When I talked with my sister she suggested that we have our family gathering in the same restaurant we had gone to last year.

At the time we talked, the fact that we visited that restaurant was already established.

Yesterday, the police arrested the man who had murdered his wife a week ago.

At the time of the arrest, the murder was already a fact.

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When I talked with my sister she suggested that we have our family gathering in the same restaurant we went to last year.

Yesterday, the police arrested the man who murdered his wife a week ago.

I don`t think the past perfect is necessary, the definitions of time make it clear which event happened first. I would opt for simple past.

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