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I would like to know if I can use past perfect in this response:

Did not know that you would contact me again !!!

I had tried to contact so many times and did not receive any answer that I completely forgot that I had made an order

Perhaps "tried" would be better but in this case, we wouldn't know if it happened before or after "did not know" but maybe the meaning is clear enough and we would need this form only to emphasize the event, which is what I want to do.

So is it OK to use past perfect to emphasize this event, whether or not the timeline adds up?

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    [correction: I had tried to contact you so many times].
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 10, 2022 at 17:37
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    Your sentence is not really idiomatic: I had tried to contact you so many times and as I did not receive an answer, I completely forgot I had put in an order.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 20:54

1 Answer 1

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It's fine but you need to match the tenses:

"I had tried to contact [you] so many times and had not received [an] answer, that I had completely forgotten that I had made an order."

you could also have

"I had tried to contact [you] so many times and not received [an] answer, that I had completely forgotten that I had made an order."

Both with the meaning that each time you had tried to contact them, they [had] each time failed to answer you.

or

"I had tried to contact [you] so many times and then did not receive [an] answer, that I had completely forgotten that I had made an order."

With the meaning that after the action of "trying to contact them so many times", you had not received an answer.

I would expect a native speaker to omit the word "so" unless they were trying to convey the feeling of rolling their eyes, rather than anger.

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  • I don't understand why "had forgotten" because in my mind this action comes after the fact of not receiving
    – Yves Lefol
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 17:33
  • But at the point, now, where you are writing it, you have clearly remembered that you placed the order as you are talking about it, so you can't write "I have forgotten". Previously you had forgotten that you had placed the order, but now you have remembered. You need a past perfect tense, as the action of forgetting has now come to an end.
    – james
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 18:28
  • But I have never written "have forgotten" i wrote" forgot"
    – Yves Lefol
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 19:02
  • "forgot" ie the simple past, doesn't say that the action of forgetting is now finished. "Forget" is a awkward verb, as one must obviously have remembered (ie completed the action of forgetting) something in order to talk about it! I suspect you could get away with "forgot", certainly in spoken English.
    – james
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 19:13
  • @Yves Lefol I'd rather notice that using the Past Perfect at all points could be exculpated by putting in this conversation into a narration. "X said he wouldn't expect Y to contact him again. But Y told X that he had tried to contact him so many times and as he had not received any answer, he had completely forgotten that he had made an order." Otherwise you'd better build on Lambie's comment.
    – Eugene
    Commented Mar 11 at 22:34

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