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Svarbhanu had gulped his share of the nectar and become immortal.

This is a sentence I've written myself hoping that the verb 'had' applies to both the words 'gulped' and 'become'.

Or do I need to make it explicit by repeating the 'had'?

Svarbhanu had gulped his share of the nectar and had become immortal.

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    It's completely unnecessary to repeat the second occurrence of had, and most writers normally wouldn't. But the only possible reason for repeating it is to emphasize the fact of the reference being to something that happened before the current "narrative reference time" - context which you haven't provided. Note that many non-native Anglophones tend to overuse Perfect verb forms anyway, so it's quite possible you either don't need or shouldn't be using Past Perfect in the first place. Sep 11, 2023 at 10:37
  • Would it help if I provided the previous sentence? "The Sun and the Moon gods alerted Mohini to the fact that she had inadvertently given nectar to a demon but it was too late. Svarbhanu had gulped his share of the nectar and become immortal."
    – Shoes
    Sep 11, 2023 at 11:35
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    In that case, the past perfect is entirely appropriate. Sep 11, 2023 at 11:42
  • In that case, Simple Past is probably more appropriate! Given that the primary verb in the preceding ("temporal context-setting") sentence is Simple Past alerted (not had alerted), I think I can reasonably say there's no justification for trying to introduce an additional level of superfluous "this came before that" information through "exotic" verb tenses Just Svarbhanu gulped his share of the nectar and became immortal seems far better to me. Why go out of your way to justify complexity when there's a simple solution available? Sep 11, 2023 at 12:02

1 Answer 1

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Here is the full sentence:

The Sun and the Moon gods alerted Mohini to the fact that she had inadvertently given nectar to a demon but it was too late. Svarbhanu had gulped his share of the nectar and become immortal.

This is correct, and there is no need to repeat had. It is implied.

I would modify it to this:

The Sun and the Moon gods alerted Mohini to the fact that she had inadvertently given nectar to a demon but it was too late. Svarbhanu had gulped his share of the nectar and became immortal.

Here, you don't need the reader to assume an implied "had." "Became" is correct in context even though it is happening in the past. We are describing that he became immortal in the past.

If I could re-write everything, would write it as:

The Sun and the Moon gods alerted Mohini to the fact that she inadvertently [gave OR had given] nectar to a demon but it was too late: Svarbhanu gulped his share of the nectar and became immortal.

Normally, I would not consider using "had given," but in this scenario, we are talking about an inadvertent action. "Had given" is more passive than "gave," and can serve a genuine stylistic choice: implying that it wasn't quite her conscious will to do the action of giving. "Gave" sounds more intentional.

I originally thought that if you use "had" in the first sentence, it might be good to repeat it at least once in the second sentence. However, I don't think this is the case. This sentence also sounds natural:

The Sun and the Moon gods alerted Mohini to the fact that she had inadvertently given nectar to a demon but it was too late. Svarbhanu gulped his share of the nectar and became immortal.

So, you have a lot of freedom as to what you want to do here, but you don't need the extra had, and you don't really need any hads at all.

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