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The other day I had my monthly pizza, wine and music playing session with Hank Meldrum again. I took this LP with me which I hadn't played in say 10 years. It didn't hit me then. The warmth and intensity of it came like a shock.

I would like to know if "then" means the other day when he had his monthly pizza or before, when he first listened to the record about ten years ago. I think it refers to when he played the record that day when he had his monthly pizza (if it has been before the writer would have used had hit (past perfect).

Am I right to think this way?

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    The text itself is ambiguous, but personally I'd be pretty certain the speaker/writer meant the LP didn't hit him (strike him as impressive, leave a lasting impression) when he last played it, about 10 years ago. But it would be clearer (and more natural phrasing) if he'd said It didn't hit me at that/the time. Don't assume "not using a Perfect verb form" means anything in such contexts - that's just normal choice of phrasing for native Anglophones, who don't use the Perfect anywhere near as often as you probably think. Sep 13, 2023 at 12:30
  • (Also note that hitten isn't an English word! :) Sep 13, 2023 at 12:33
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    If "It didn't hit me then" meant at pizza time, when would the writer have felt the "shock"? So it didn't hit at some time in the past, 10 years ago, and now he feels shock. Sep 13, 2023 at 12:49
  • What was it that didn't hit you then? We can't tell.
    – Lambie
    Sep 13, 2023 at 12:55
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    And did you write this sentence, or did you read it somewhere else (originally)? If the latter, please cite a source.
    – Joachim
    Sep 13, 2023 at 16:18

1 Answer 1

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The other day I had my monthly pizza, wine and music playing session with Hank Meldrum again.

[Established time: a day, with music playing]

I took this LP with me which I hadn't played in say 10 years.

[Established time: not changed. We are still in the music playing session. This described something happening in the session.]

It didn't hit me then.

[We were describing the session, which we know to be in the past from the phrase "the other day." So, "then" refers to during the session.]

You want to know if the word "then" means the other day when he had his monthly pizza, or before when he first listened to the record about ten years ago. You correctly intuit that "then" refers to when he played the record on the day when he had his monthly pizza. FumbleFingers correctly points out that it is ambiguous, but there are a couple hints.

If the author meant 10 years ago, they likely would have used some other form, such as:

  1. I took this LP with me which I hadn't played in say 10 years; it didn't hit me then. [Still ambiguous]
  2. I took this LP with me which I hadn't played in say 10 years. It didn't hit me back then.
  3. I took this LP with me which I hadn't played in say 10 years. It hadn't hit then.

More context / more sentences before and after would help to understand for certain what the author meant.

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  • I took this LP with me which I hadn't played in say 10 years; it didn't hit me then. [Still ambiguous] it is the same form as in my question
    – Yves Lefol
    Oct 30, 2023 at 9:12

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