South London called Broadway Sound. Early on the morning of August 12th 1982 the band, comprising of Colin Swan, Geno Buckmaster, Brian Grover and their trusty roadie ‘Robbo’ assembled at the tiny studio to begin recording as many of their songs as they could get down on tape for the tiny budget they had scraped together. As most of the songs were already well rehearsed thanks to the band’s busy live schedule, the recording of the first nine songs on this disc were finished by mid afternoon without any problems.

I just would like to know why the writer did not use past perfect .We can reasonably think that the action was completed and there is a link of causality.It is because the songs had been well rehearsed that the recording did not last long. It is obvious.

I think that is because both actions were too close. One happened just after the other within a little time and as the causality is obvious: no need for past perfect.

Or may be it is the expression "most of the songs" which implies that some of them needed to be rehearsed a little more so the action was not completed (in fact after thinking of it I think this is the reason for past simple)


1 Answer 1


Your reasoning for why you would expect a past perfect is fine. However, I think the reason here is that "well-rehearsed" has 'made the jump' from participle phrase to adjectival phrase. Compare adjectival phrases such as well-worn, well-thumbed [of books], etc. If it is an adjectival phrase, then we would expect it to behave the same as a bare adjective like 'good':

  • As most of the songs had already been good, ... [incorrect]
  • As most of the songs were already good, ... [correct]

It often happens that phrases hover on the boundary between participial and adjectival. In this case, the phrase is clearly adjectival, in my opinion.

I do not think your 'most of the songs' idea is correct, though it was a good thought.

  • why as most of the songs had already been good is incorrect
    – Yves Lefol
    Dec 6, 2020 at 9:35
  • It is incorrect in the meaning we are talking about here, simply for grammatical reasons. "Most of the songs had already been good, so the band finished recording them that afternoon" is simply incorrect English. We need the past simple. (You can probably find some context where you could use "the songs had already been good", but that's not the context we're talking about here.)
    – legatrix
    Dec 6, 2020 at 9:40
  • what are the grammaticals reasons why this sentence is incorrect
    – Yves Lefol
    Dec 6, 2020 at 9:49
  • For one thing, if you say "had already been good", it sounds like they were good once and then became bad (and then possibly became good again...) ...this is not what we mean. We just mean that they were good once, and stayed good. If you speak French, I'm sure it's the same. We wouldn't say les chansons étaient déjà été bonnes.
    – legatrix
    Dec 6, 2020 at 10:14
  • 1
    I am sorry have not seen that you wrote "les chansons étaient deja été bonnes " of course it is not good sorry
    – Yves Lefol
    Dec 6, 2020 at 12:03

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