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Woman: Haven't you heard? I got fired last month.

Friend: What happened?

Woman: I snapped at a customer. He tipped me two dollars, and I don't know why, but I'd just expected something more. So I completely lost my temper and started yelling.

Hi. Is "I'd just expected" grammatically correct and natural here? Is the tense natural or would the simple past be expected especially together with "just"? Also, does "just" seem natural to include?

Hope anyone can help me. Thank you.

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  • Just doesn't seem to have any function here. I would expect her to say "I'd expected/been expecting something more". Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 16:29
  • Native speakers wouldn't be likely to use the Perfect form in I'd just expected something more. Simple past but I just expected something more would be fine, though. Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 17:20

1 Answer 1

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Two separate questions:

  1. Why the past perfect tense instead of simple past? This is because "expectations" are often already in the past tense. Imagine this scene playing out in the present. "Here's your tip." "What?! I expected something more!" In the present, expect is already in the past tense, so when telling the whole story in the past tense, it moves into past perfect (as we do when something happens before the point in time we're telling about).

    A. Sure, you can also use "expect" in the present tense: "Here's your tip." "I don't think so. I expect more." So the story could also have used the simple past.

  2. Does 'just' seem natural to include? This is an idiomatic and very common (too common?) usage, equating to "simply." It makes sense here because the speaker is saying she has no explanation for her expectation: "I don't know why, but I'd [simply] expected something more."

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