As I casually walked to the party store I saw this guy I met just the week before

Why not "had met" is it because it is spoken american or is it because the meeting happened only one time. The use of simple past could it be justified because the walking and the seeing happen today so" met" is not past of the past but only past.

May be it is obvious that the meeting happened before the seeing so there is no need of past perfect.

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    Both "met" and "had met" sound perfectly natural to my ear. I'm not formally answering as I don't really have a good explanation as to why both work just fine, as my intuitive feeling is that both ways also carry the same meaning. I'm not sure why. Maybe there is a subtle difference that I'm not paying attention to as a native speaker? "Had met" does feel like a slightly higher register, but that's mostly due to the general rule of "more words = more formal". Commented Jun 6, 2022 at 7:32
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    Like @RichardWinters I can't give a formal answer to this one, but to my (UK English) eyes it looks incorrect without "had". I've heard this variant on US television programmes, so it's possible that it's a variant that's acceptable in US English, but someone better versed in US English than me would need to confirm.
    – Fiona
    Commented Jun 6, 2022 at 7:54
  • To my Canadian ears, this is wrong, and "had met" is correct.
    – gotube
    Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 23:03
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    Please provide proper attribution for the text that you quote. That means title, author, and publication, or as many of those as are available. If the source is long, such as a book, please include a page number or other location also. If the source is online, please include a link also. See Marking and Attributing Examples, Sources, and Other Quotes Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 0:57

3 Answers 3


Sample sentence: As I casually walked to the party store I saw this guy I met just the week before.

I saw a guy I met. is perfectly grammatical here as is had met.

Compare: As I casually walked to the party store, I saw this guy I had met just the week before.

Both are correct in all standard English varieties. The one with the past perfect emphasizes the fact that meeting the guy occurs BEFORE seeing the guy in the street.

The past perfect is used with the simple past, if a person wants to emphasize that a past perfect action or situation precedes another. Example: When I arrived, he had already left.

There, I want to emphasize that he was no longer there when I arrived. His leaving preceded my arrival. And this is true in all varieties of standard English.

Most of the time, it depends on what a speaker wants to say.


Both have the same meanings in my opinion. The meaning differs only very slightly, as 'had met him' emphasizes that it was in the past, while 'met him' emphasizes the fact of their meeting.


The simple past met is fine here as the sequence of events is clear. Whether the earlier event (the meeting) happened a week or a day before the later one (the walking/seeing) is immaterial.

Please see this comprehensive guide from FumbleFingers and the guiding principle.

The guiding principle should be don't use Past Perfect unless you really have to.

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    As Fiona says, had met would be usual here in British English. Commented Jun 6, 2022 at 12:47

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