everyone. My understanding of past participles--and it's based on my own observations, not on my reading this rule--is that you use "had [verb]" when speaking about something that, in the past, happened in the past. Like, in the past TWICE. Example, if today is Wednesday, and yesterday (Tuesday) I turned on the TV at 9 because I heard on Monday that there would be a cool show on, I would say, "I turned on the TV tonight because I had heard there would be a cool show on." In the past I turned on the TV because, relative to when I turned on the TV, it was in the past that I heard about a cool show.
And then yesterday, I read on another site that you use the past participle when describing "something that happened in the past, but that is linked to another time."
So that seemed to somewhat confirm my own ideas of past participles, but is there a clearer way to think of it?
I have a situation at work right now that I'm confused about. Last week, my boss Phil told me to email Alex an article I had written because he, Phil, wanted Alex to fact-check it. Well, today, I still haven't heard from Alex, so I went to go write him. I said, "Hi, Alex, did you get my email last Friday? Phil had said he wanted you to fact-check it." But is "had said" correct? Could I just have said "Phil said"? In the past (last Friday) is when Phil told me to email Alex, and it was only ten minutes later that I actually did email Alex. So in the past (last Friday), after I sent the email to Alex, it was true that in the past Phil wanted me to email Alex. So is "Phil had said" correct?
Often either "had [verb]" or "[verb]" will sound better than the other, but in this case they both sound good to me.
I'm just trying to figure out a clear-cut explanation as to when to use "had [verb]," something that I can apply to future deliberations on the matter when I write anything.