I see that some natives consider this sentence:

"I noticed that he left."

to mean that - at a certain point in the past I noticed that he had left before.

Should this be:

"I noticed that he had left."

Another variation is:

"I noticed that he has left."

Which is correct?

  • I strongly urge you to look up "Past Simple, "Past Perfect", and "Present Perfect". Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 21:00
  • To piggyback on what Liron said, there are many ELL questions that cover this topic.
    – J.R.
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 20:32
  • It's not about past simple - past perfect. It's about "notice that past simple or past perfect"
    – user1425
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 2:43
  • @Liron Ilayev, what for? How would it help solve the issue?
    – user1425
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 2:47

1 Answer 1


You are correct. If you say "I noticed he left" it means that these two things are happening at the same time, whereas "I noticed he had left" means that the leaving happened earlier. The third sentence is incorrect, because "I noticed" is past tense and "has left" is present perfect tense. You'd have to change it to "I notice he has left".

  • Thank you. But the problem is that natives use the "wrong" versions. Maybe not all but many. That's why I decided to ask.
    – user1425
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 18:25
  • @user1425.There is no guarantee native speakers always use grammatically correct sentences.Those we learned English try to be grammatical Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 6:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .