I'd seen it happen before.

Is this sentence correct? I have mentioned the word 'before' which gives an idea about the past event. Is it enough for the sentence to be considered as complete?

1 Answer 1


It depends. If before means before now (present), you should say:

I've seen it happen before.

If before means before then (past), you should say:

I'd seen it happen before.

If you use this sentence in a context which explains what before refers to, then yes, your sentence can be considered as self-sufficient, but elliptic (as it omits explanatory words such as "before this particular time, this particular event.").

  • Based on what @fev correctly writes here, you should also understand that "before" is unnecessary to make the sentence complete - the tense itself sets the time. So, "I'd seen it happen!" and even "I'd seen it!" are both complete sentences also.
    – BadZen
    Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 2:23

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