I got the record yesterday. I am a bit disappointed because I expected a vinyl in a better condition when I ordered the record. I'm sure it had been played more than you wrote in the ad.

Could it be possible to write "was played"? I think it could be, but the meaning would not be the same. "Had been played" means it was completed before I received it and have not the same weight.

  • [correction: in better condition, no a] I like the past perfect here. It stresses your point to the seller.
    – Lambie
    Jan 11, 2022 at 18:43

1 Answer 1


I would prefer "has been played". That verb phrase seems to be most closely related to the time of "I'm sure"; because "I'm sure" is in the present tense, I would use the present perfect to indicate an earlier time: "it has been played".

I wouldn't use "was played" because the simple past tense is usually used when the event happened at a particular time in the past. If there is no specific time, then the present perfect is generally better.

The past perfect (as given in the original sentence) implies that the action happened before the action of "you wrote in the ad", which is in the simple past. That would be appropriate if you wanted to emphasize the temporal relationship of those two events. (But I think that that would be unusual.)

  • why unsual if I used past perfect is to give emphasize to the fact it has been played
    – Yves Lefol
    Jan 11, 2022 at 21:45
  • @user5577 To me, the relationship between "had been played" and "wrote in the ad" doesn't seem very significant. The relationship between "had been played" and "am sure" seems more important to me, so that's why I'd prefer "has been played". Others might disagree. Jan 12, 2022 at 5:12
  • I chose past perfect because if he knew it had been played before he had to write it clearly in the ad
    – Yves Lefol
    Jan 12, 2022 at 6:55
  • With reference to the page 'Great Expectations [was written vs has been written] by Charles Dickens' here, ELL
    – kngram
    Jan 12, 2022 at 8:51

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