Among the below two Which is the correct sentence?

He saw me yesterday.


He had seen me yesterday.

I know that we use past perfect tense to express an incident whose effect is still present. So is had been correct?

  • 1
    Each may be correct in different contexts. But it is the present perfect we use to speak of a past event "whose effect is still present". – StoneyB on hiatus Apr 20 '14 at 10:50
  • @StoneyB oh right. So is has been right? – Anirban Nag 'tintinmj' Apr 20 '14 at 10:52
  • It depends on what you want to say. The present perfect expresses a state current in the present arising out of a past action; but it cannot be used with a time adverbial which does not include the present. The past perfect expresses a state current at the past time which is your focus arising out of an earlier action. The simple past expresses an action or state which takes place at the past time which is your focus. – StoneyB on hiatus Apr 20 '14 at 10:58

Typically we use the past simple (saw) for events in the past and the past perfect (had seen) for events further in the past. For example, you could say:

I had seen my brother asleep when I left home in the morning, but then later I saw him at the bank.

You'll need to give us more context for these sentences to know which one would be more correct, because they can both be used in different situations.

  • There is nothing more. But I got your answer. – Anirban Nag 'tintinmj' Apr 20 '14 at 11:00
  • Alright, then it's difficult to answer your question more thoroughly now, but if you see an example with context that you're not sure about, we can give you more advice about which form is better. – Alium Britt Apr 20 '14 at 11:03

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.