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I would appreciate it if somebody could help me with my English grammar. I am so confused about the usage of the past perfect. For example, when I read "on the last day of the month in which," I immediately begin to think about the past perfect because there appears to be two different reference points in the past.

But is it grammatical to use the past perfect in this example? We do not know exactly when the employee left the company.

The employee's insurance coverage terminated on the last day of the month in which he had already left the company.

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  • Regardless of the answer, you need to edit 'in which the he had '. Apr 11, 2022 at 12:58
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    Why do you not think 'The employee's insurance coverage terminated on the last day of the month in which he left the company' is OK? Apr 11, 2022 at 12:59
  • I automatically imagine a sequence of events i.e., event happening one after another.
    – user154167
    Apr 11, 2022 at 20:17
  • I guess I want to say the following: (1)The employee had already left the company before his insurance coverage terminated on the last day of the month. (2)The employee's insurance coverage terminated on the last day of the month at the beginning of which he had already left the company.
    – user154167
    Apr 11, 2022 at 20:35
  • (3)After the employee had left the company, his insurance coverage subsequently terminated on the last day of the month.
    – user154167
    Apr 11, 2022 at 20:56

1 Answer 1

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The perfect tenses cause a lot of often needless concern to students of English, as the context frequently allows for more than one tense.

But in your case, the rule is that:

Present tense: The employee's insurance coverage terminates on the last day of the month that s/he leaves the company.

Past tense: The employee's insurance coverage terminated on the last day of the month that s/he left the company.

Reporting the rule: The manager said that the employee's insurance coverage (had) terminated on the the day of the month that s/he (had) left the company.**

In the final example, both the past perfect and past simple tenses can be used. Both are idiomatic.

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    What I think you should point out is that with this wording the tenses of the two verbs need to match - terminated/left or had terminated/had left. Alternatively if one wishes to say By the time the employee's insurance coverage terminated, they had already left - the tenses do not match. I can understand why non-native speakers have difficulty with the perfect tenses - they can be confusing.
    – WS2
    Apr 11, 2022 at 15:45
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    By the time the employee's insurance coverage terminated, they had already left. Why is this sentence wrong? the employees left before their insurance terminated , I don't see something wrong here
    – Yves Lefol
    Apr 11, 2022 at 17:35
  • Thank you. How about
    – user154167
    Apr 11, 2022 at 20:32
  • I guess I want to say the following: (1)The employee had already left the company before his insurance coverage terminated on the last day of the month. (2)The employee's insurance coverage terminated on the last day of the month at the beginning of which he had already left the company.
    – user154167
    Apr 11, 2022 at 20:38
  • (3)After the employee had left the company, his insurance coverage subsequently terminated on the last day of the month.
    – user154167
    Apr 11, 2022 at 20:56

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