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Is it true that most people don't use the past perfect in casual conversation and the following monologue is usual for native speakers?

"So I saw Maggie and I asked her why she didn't come to the party and I told her that we missed her. And she said that she had to go to her sister's house because they called her at the last minute and she went over to her sister's house to babysit (for) her kids. And she ended up spending the night at her place."

My Grammar book tells me that I ought to use the past perfect in at least the first sentence with the reported speech:

"So I saw Maggie and I asked her why she hadn't come (past perfect) to the party and I told her that we had missed (past perfect) her. And she said that she had to go (simple past)...

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    It depends on the speaker. That said the book is right.
    – Lambie
    May 14, 2022 at 21:28
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    I think the monologue is fine, but "most people don't use the past perfect in casual conversation" is not correct. Something like, "I was sitting in my boat, and I'd been out there a few hours and I'd had a couple beers..." is perfectly natural in casual speech.
    – stangdon
    May 14, 2022 at 22:06
  • I agree with the others. With the tenses abbreviated but correct it's still casual: "... and I told her that we'd missed her. And she said that she'd had to go to her sister's house because they'd called her at the last minute and she'd gone to babysit (for) her kids. And she'd ended up spending the night at her place. May 15, 2022 at 2:03

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In casual speech, people have numerous clues to meaning. Moreover, if something is unclear in speech, there is an opportunity to ask a clarifying question. Therefore, strict application of differences in the meaning of tense are often ignored in speech, but it certainly is not true that the past perfect is not used in casual speech.

Casual speech and even informal writing may frequently ignore the strict differences in the meaning of tenses, but, no matter how casual the circumstances, the way to avoid misunderstanding is to use the grammatically proper tense. People may think you a trifle pedantic, but at least they will not think you an utter fool.

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