A: I was too angry. And cold. I had been waiting outside the cinema for three-quarters of an hour.

B: But why? _____________________ (you/not/get) my text?

A: What text?

B: The text I sent you yesterday afternoon.

I have found it in my English grammar book. I understand that correct answer here is 'Didn't you get my text?', but, technically, can I use Past Perfect in that sentence, meaning 'Before you started to wait, hadn't you gotten my message?'

Could you, please, make it clear for me?

Thanks in advance,


3 Answers 3


For me the past simple is used, because the text was sent yesterday, which is a definite point in the past. B sent the text yesterday, A is waiting today. There is no confusion to what happened first. In a sentence like: The film had started when we arrived the past perfect is used to make clear that first the film started then we arrived, so we missed the beginning. If you don`t use the past perfect in that sentence and you say the film started when we arrived, it seems as if these two things are happening at the same time. I hope you understand what I am trying to say.


(In my current knowledge) I try to answer...

= Where is the focus of the conversation?

"have -ed" stands for

1 "at the time of finishing something".

2 "something suceeds from the past time".

3 "have experience of doing it".

B:The text I sent you yesterday afternoon.

and today , A and B meets each other.

you can understand "1" and "2" is not right for this answer. you image that A has experience of reading B's text. So, your answer is also right in a sence.

For example,

I have been to this park once. ( experience )

I have gone to the park. ( finish ) (and I'm not here now.)

I have studied English for a long time. ( suceeding ) ( I still study English)

B want to ask A the fact "A read B's text or not"

B don't want to ask A's experience "Have you ever read my text?" No.

Certainly, if A read B's text, A says, "I had read your text before you came!"

This is not for checking A's knowledge of B's text.

There is the focus for A's experience of reading it.

as your first thoughts, B even can speak "I have sent you my text".

This means I sent you my text book and the moving has already finished,

so I have an experience of sending you my text book.

And also,

I have an experience of sending you my text once.

Is it strange, isn't it?

"Before you started to wait, hadn't you gotten my message?"

your answer sounds that "Do you have an experience of getting my message before you started to wait?"


You can say either, there isn't a right or wrong to your question and there is a good explanation of this in another thread:

Canonical Post #2: What is the perfect, and how should I use it?

It's quite long though so, in short, you can almost always use either the simple past or the perfect past tense, it's a matter of writing style.

For example, in your example the two forms would be (more or less as you said)

Simple past tense - "Didn't you get my text?"

Perfect past tense - "Hadn't you got my text?"

And you could rephrase @anouk's example above thus:

Perfect Past - "The film had started when we arrived"

Simple Past - "We arrived late and missed the start if the film"

In all these cases, meaning is preserved, it's just a matter of how you want to say it.

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