My father, my mother, my younger sister and I got into my father's '54 Ford to go to Cordoba, where my parents had rented a house up in the hills.

The three of us started walking down the hill to look at the car, which stopped at the bottom of hill.

Why not had stopped past perfect like in the first one, both are very similar for me: two actions, one before one after?

Is it because the meaning is clear they started walking obviously after the car stopped and that the walk began just after the car stopped (almost the same time frame)


  • 3
    The difference between using Simple Past stopped and Past Perfect had stopped in your context is that the former strongly implies that the car stopped while we were walking towards it / looking at it. The latter unambiguously states that the car had already ceased moving before we started walking. Jan 8, 2020 at 18:19

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure on the context or meaning, but to me this actually seems wrong.

I would use something like:

which had stopped at the bottom of it. (no need to say "the hill" as we have specified it already)

which was parked at the bottom of it.

which was stopped at the bottom of it.

Or maybe even just:

which was at the bottom of it.

To say "the car stopped at the bottom of the hill" is actually describing the car stopping at the bottom of the hill (i.e. the activity of stopping).

It doesn't sound quite right in that context to me, and could sort of be seen as describing size or position, as in:

The road stopped at the gate.

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