The first time I ever met Johnny Thunders was at a club [...] called Rebeccas. Thursday at Rebecca was always "punk". I'd gone along to the soundcheck with my two New York Dolls albums in hand. Cheekily asked one of the road crew if he could put me on the guest list. He'd replied that would be no problem. But, he did say that I shouldn’t attempt to get my Dolls albums signed by Johnny or Jerry Nolan as they didn’t like being reminded of the past. So I left the records at home and went along to the gig empty-handed.

(Source Albion Sunrise by Nikki Sudden - Chapter 12: Johnny Thunders

I completely and fully understand the reason of past perfect here I'd gone, asked, he had replied did not write and said before I left for the gig without my records. Past perfect explains why he went to the gig without the records he had bought.

What I don't understand is the reason why the author did not write (had asked instead of asked and had said instead of said). Both verbs are before he went to the gig so they should be past perfect. Would it be possible to write had gone.....,...... asked......,...... replied...... and ended by...... had said as it is the last action before he went to the gig

  • I've taken the liberty of correcting the quote. Some parts of it had been changed from the original. You should quote exactly, and clearly mark any changes you make. For instance I've cut part of the quote, so I've use [...] to indicate my change. There is no need to use xxxxx for the names. There is no reason to invent a specific date. But you must include a citation
    – James K
    Commented Jun 13, 2021 at 5:07
  • 1
    Sorry but got the book from Nikki and what is written it is slightly different from what you have corrected . The book is called" the last bandit , a rock'n roll life". I have corrected now
    – Yves Lefol
    Commented Jun 13, 2021 at 5:17

1 Answer 1


It seems to be a very minor stylistic flaw, but natural enough.

The author begins with a past narrative, establishing the time as "the first time I met xxx". They then shift back to earlier "I'd gone to the soundcheck". Here the author shifts to telling this narrative, in a new time frame: "I asked..." That is quite normal.

I wouldn't have used past perfect for "He'd replied". I'd have said "He replied", since there has been a shift in the timeframe. This is the flaw, but it is really not a big one. (I speculate that the sentence fragment that precedes it "cheekily asked..." might have confused the matter, since that could be understood as "I cheekily asked" or "I'd cheekily asked") After that, it is correct to continue in past tense, as the narrative develops chronologically from that point.

This is speech, or simulated speech. This kind of thing is normal in speech.

  • but why not replied once the time frame is set there is no need of past perfect here it is fully logic I asked he replied and said. Is it a matter of choice
    – Yves Lefol
    Commented Jun 13, 2021 at 5:28
  • Yes, mistake in my answer.
    – James K
    Commented Jun 13, 2021 at 5:29
  • what do you think of my solution had gone, asked replied and had said (to remind the reader that we are still in the flashback )
    – Yves Lefol
    Commented Jun 13, 2021 at 5:41
  • It would be fine.
    – James K
    Commented Jun 13, 2021 at 5:45

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