In the song "Smashing Time" of the TVP's, there is this sentence, "we both agreed, we both had a smashing time". I know grammar in songs are sometimes a bit special but I find strange to use the past simple for "have".

We agreed means it happened in the past when the smashing time was over so it would be better to use "had had" past perfect or if this smashing time was not over and ongoing "were having".

In fact I think if he had used "past perfect" it would mean that at the time they agreed it was no longer a smashing time which was not true so past simple fits better. Am I right here ?


1 Answer 1


Of course, as this is a song, the writers have licence to break grammar, but I'm going to treat your question as if the text was normal English, subject to the normal rules.

The sentence would be correct and have roughly the same meaning with "had had", but the feeling of when the event happened, and how we feel about it now is a bit different.

With the past perfect "had had", the event feels detached from the time they "agreed", as if they had discussed it a few years later and came to the same opinion. Having the event in the past perfect also makes it feel very detached from the present, so it's just a distant memory of the past, and the knowledge that at some point we agreed it was a good time.

With the simple past "had", the event feels contemporary with "agreed", as if soon after coming out of the event, or even while still at the event we agreed that it was a great time. And when it's just in the simple past, it feels as if the memory of that event being so great can still have a positive effect on us now.

I haven't listened to the song, but based on that tense choice, my guess is in that song we're supposed to still feel excited thinking about that time.


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