Should I use 'haven't occurred' or 'hadn't occurred' in the context?

  • Yesterday a tragic bus accident happened in Kolkata. At least 60 people died in the accident. The bus driver was found responsible for the accident. It is not that accidents like this hadn't occurred/haven't occurred before but the number of deaths had never risen/have never risen to that point before.


     In the above context which tense I should use?

I think if I use present perfect it mean before now but as the accident happened yesterday I think I should use past perfect.

1 Answer 1


You can use either. It does not depend on the events, or their sequence. It entirely depends on how you want your text to be focussed temporally.

If you use the past perfect, you are talking about what happened previously from the point of view of a point in the past - presumably viewing it from the time of yesterday's accident.

If you use the present perfect, you are locating the temporal viewpoint now.

Both are completely grammatical. Both are completely consistent with what you are describing. The difference is only in the point when you are inviting the reader to imagine their temporal viewpoint.

  • Thank you very much. But I think in the last sentence "the number of deaths have/had never risen to that point before." I should use past perfect. What do you think?
    – user254288
    Aug 9, 2018 at 22:26
  • No, @user254288. My answer still applies. Either is possible, depending on whether you want the reader to be looking back from the accident, or looking back from now.
    – Colin Fine
    Aug 10, 2018 at 16:26

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