1

What is the difference between the sentences below?

Employees names were not appearing in the pay register when they had negative salary earlier but when we changed their salary to positive they stared appearing.

And,

Employees names had not been appearing in the pay register when they had negative salary earlier but when we changed their salary to positive they stared appearing.

Please Explain in detail.

What I understand from the First sentence is The Speaker just explaining the scenario to someone. And from second sentence The Speaker explaining the event that had already happened in past.

3

Statement one uses the imperfect tense. Statement two uses the pluperfect.

You would use the imperfect to describe something that was happening, while the pluperfect describes something had had been happening a long time in the past.

The sentence describes the problem about employees' names. It describes an event that happened, and then another event that happened. Because another event happened after the first, the two statements mean the same thing in this context.

In general, the pluperfect describes things that happened a long time in the past, but are likely not happening now. The imperfect here describes something that happened recently, and could still be happening now.

Still, to answer your question, in this context you can say both and there is no change in meaning.

  • +1, though I'd quibble that it need not be "a long time" in the past. It is perfectly valid to say, "I had been watching the clock until the bus arrived 30 seconds ago." – Jay Mar 19 '14 at 21:02
1

Both sentences use the continuous aspect:

  • "Employees names were not appearing" (continuous past)

  • "Employees names had not been appearing" (continuous past perfect)

The only difference between these two tenses is in the context. Whereas the former states that the problem with the employees names was happening at an undefined time in the past, the latter states this problem took place before another event in the past (which is not mentioned in this sentence and thus it has to be known from the context).

SHORT ANSWER: Both sentences are grammatically correct. Which one is more appropriate depends on the context.

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