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a. That song was the first time such effects had been used in music history.

b. That song was the first time such effects were used in music history.

Which of the two sentences is gramamtically correct?

The effects were used in that song. It was the first time such a thing was done.

I think (b) is correct because the effects were used in that song. But I am not sure. I can't see the logic behind (b). Why would one use the past participle? But then again, it doesn't sound wrong to me for some reason!

Many thanks.

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    In #a, "that song" is effectively a "timeless" reference to the song (which has existed ever since it was first performed). In #b, "that song" very specifically refers to the first performance, the creation of the song (a specific point in time, not something with a "continuous" existence). Mar 1 at 13:42

2 Answers 2

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Both sentences are 'grammatically correct'. The choice of tense shows a slight difference in the way of looking at the incident.

(a) is from the point of view of the producers of the recording - at the time, they could have said "Effects like this have never been used before".

(b) looks at it from the point of view of the present day. Such effects have been used since, but that was the first time.

(NB In music history would be better after time.)

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The first one is correct.

That song was the first time such effects ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฑ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ป used in music history (simple past + past perfect)

[ That song is the first time such effects ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ป used in music history. (simple present + present perfect) ]

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    Effects is plural, so it should be have been - but the OP asked about past tenses. Mar 1 at 12:51
  • Yes, 'HAVE BEEN' Thank you. ( by mistake) Mar 1 at 14:00

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