It was the first time I had met/met her.

Which tense form should be used, had met or met?

I have come across this sentence only, not from any specific context.


We follow present tense by Present Perfect (indicating before and up until now) in contexts like...

1: This is the first time I have [ever] written this sentence

But because of preceding it was in OP's example, we know we're already in a "past tense" context. So we need Past Perfect to refer to an earlier state (during which I hadn't seen her). Hence...

2: It was the first time I had met her

| improve this answer | |
  • And if the situation is, 'It was the first time they met/had met in the garden', then what could be our choice? – Garry302 Jun 28 '19 at 18:27
  • 1
    That's almost identical to my example #2 above (so use Past Perfect). But looking at this answer again now, I have misgivings about my reference to an earlier time during which I hadn't seen her. I don't think there are any contexts where it was the first time I saw her is truly "correct", but That was the last time I saw him is definitely okay. Whereas That was the last time I had seen him is at least "unlikely" (maybe it's okay in certain contexts; I just can't think of one in this current heatwave! :) – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jun 29 '19 at 15:49

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