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After Mustafa had returned from his voyage to Indonesia, he "had wished" or "wished" to visit a temple.

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2 Answers 2

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I believe the following sentences are fine:

past perfect + past simple:

After Mustafa had returned from his voyage to Indonesia, he wished to visit a temple.

If you want to talk about a past event that happened before a particular time in the past you can use the past perfect. You can use the past perfect to emphasise that the first action was separate, finished before the second started. Also, the past perfect can show that one action had an influence on the action that followed.

past simple + past simple:

After Mustafa returned from his voyage to Indonesia, he wished to visit a temple.

In storytelling the past simple is often used to describe the main events of a story. Before and after are used to show the order of these events. A past perfect isn't necessary, because we are not going back to an earlier past, but moving forward from one event to the next.

The past perfect is used to provide details of events that happened before the main narrative.

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Because "after" is used the sequence is clear and you don't need past perfect at all: After Mustapha returned from his voyage to Indonesia he wished to visit a temple. Although not necessary, the use of the past perfect "after Mustapha had returned from his voyage" looks better in written language and it gives depth to the sentence.

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  • If "had returned" were used, would it be followed by "had wished" or "wished"?
    – user17616
    Jan 30, 2019 at 15:55
  • You only use the past perfect to make clear which action came first, which in this case is "returned". The second action "wished" doesn't need past perfect, because it is the second action.
    – anouk
    Jan 30, 2019 at 16:04

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