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  • I was tired because I didn't sleep / hadn't slept.
  • I was hungry because I didn't eat / hadn't eaten.

which one is right and what's the difference ?

I want to give information and cause of myself being tired so what would i say like

Someone asks: "why were you tired?"
me: "I was tired because i didn't sleep or hadn't slept"

and can't we say "I was tired because i didn't sleep the night before"?

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  • 1
    Both are okay. the difference past tense / past perfect. Have you studied these tenses?
    – James K
    Dec 22, 2022 at 22:33
  • I want to give information and cause of myself being tired so what would i say like Someone asks: why were you tired? me: I was tired because i didn't sleep or hadn't slept/ and can't we say I was tired because i didn't sleep the night before? Dec 23, 2022 at 17:42
  • 1
    It depends on what you want to say.
    – Lambie
    Dec 23, 2022 at 18:05
  • I have updated my answer in response to the comments and edits to the question. Dec 23, 2022 at 18:35
  • Off topic, but you have used the word "like" twice and in both cases it is not required and is generally considered to be bad English. See, for example, this webpage word-connection.com/use-of-the-word-like Jan 1, 2023 at 12:13

2 Answers 2

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  • (!A) I was tired because I didn't sleep.
  • (2A) I was hungry because I didn't eat.
  • (1B) I was tired because I hadn't slept
  • (2B) I was hungry because I hadn't eaten

All four of the above sentences are grammatically valid, and quite natural. Any of them may be "right", depending on the context.

The first two (the A group) use a simple past construction, and the B group uses a past perfect construction. That is the difference.

Past perfect form is often used to discuss an event in the past that comes before, or starts before another event, or that continues up to a specified point. The past perfect is formed with a past tense of her verb "to have" (had or hadn't) plus the past participle form of the main verb (usually an -ed form). See this page and this page for more on how ro form the past perfect, and when to use it.

Sentence 1A simply indicates that the speaker did not sleep at some time in the past, probably specified by a previous sentence. Sentence (1B) indicates that the speaker did not sleep prior to some other event, which is probably specified in a previous sentence. The difference between 2A and 2B is precisely teh same about not eating, as opposed to not sleeping.

Update:

In a revision, the OP asks:

can't we say "I was tired because i didn't sleep the night before"?

Yes, one can say that, and it is grammatically valid and quite natural. The forms using "hadn't" are more specialized. Those forms are mostly used to relate one past event to another past event, explicitly or implicitly. To simply describe a single past event, the simple past using "didn't" is the more usual form.

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The thief had escaped when the police arrived.

In this sentence the two events are taking place in the past and are sequential: The thief escaped and then the police arrived.

In both of your sentences the two events - being tired and lack of sleep, being hungry and not having eaten yet - are almost contemporary, there isn't a clear indication of which action take place before the other.

If I were to use the past perfect I would say:

I was tired because I hadn't slept the night before.

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  • Hello, esa. 'Consecutive' has the default sense 'following one another without interruption' (a ... B ... C ... D ... or A ... A ... A ...B ... etc; 'sequential' is the usual term for just 'A then B' (though it too often has the 'consecutive' sense). Dec 23, 2022 at 14:47
  • @EdwinAshworth thank you. I'm gonna edit my answer.
    – esa
    Dec 23, 2022 at 15:17
  • I want to give information and cause of myself being tired so what would i say like Someone asks: why were you tired? me: I was tired because i didn't sleep or hadn't slept I still cant understand what should i use when i have to tell the cause of being tired or hungry in past didnt sleep or hadnt slept Dec 23, 2022 at 19:59
  • @RomyLearner ave you seen DavidSiegel update?
    – esa
    Jan 2, 2023 at 8:28

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