The Record Store Day release I was most excited about this year didn’t arrive at Sorry State until the week after RSD. Wrapped up in the business of RSD, I had forgotten about the deluxe reissue of Lora Logic’s 1982 album Pedigree Charm, which was a UK RSD release with only a limited number of copies available in the US. We ordered copies for Sorry State, but I didn’t realize until a few days after RSD that we didn’t receive any

-- extract of Sorry State newsletter

Why is it not "had ordered" as the ordering should have been before the forgetting. They ordered then forgot, not forgot then ordered .

Maybe the context for a native English speaker is clear enough to imply the ordering was first but it is not for me.

I would first begin by the ordering:

I had ordered some copies for Sorry State and completely forgot about them because I did not receive it on time for RSD. I only realized a few days after RSD they were missing.

  • 1
    The tenses are a little messy - "had forgotten" is more recent than the majority of the Past Simple verbs. But Past Perfect is generally not mandatory unless the order is both significant and not extractable from context - and since you've managed to pinpoint the (not-)error, it kind of proves that you can get it from context :) Commented May 1 at 9:33
  • Also, your sentence makes Past Simple even more acceptable - if you're listing things in Past Simple in order, it's already kind of implied that one comes after another. (Eg. "I went to the store, bought a beer, then came home and drank it" - no Past Perfect necessary). I would probably rewrite the original paragraph to either use Past Simple throughout and just assume the order is either obvious or doesn't matter, or change it to had ordered - but if I were to use your version, I'd probably go with "I ordered some copies... and forgot about them". Commented May 1 at 9:36
  • The last sentence is like an afterthought and not part of the "narrative". You've asked a number of questions about past perfect. I think you rely too much on tenses to provide narrative logic. Try to use the word "although" more often. For example, "Although I ordered copies of Sorry State for Record Store Day, they didn't arrive in time." You don't need to say "had ordered". You could if you wish. Also, why do you interrupt the story about Sorry State with a digression about Pedigree Charm?
    – TimR
    Commented May 1 at 10:21
  • There are a lot of similar questions if you search a little. You won't get ESL-standard use of tenses in a casual email, because that's not how real native speakers write or speak. And the writer doesn't mean to be precise about the sequence of events: the writer ordered at some point, but isn't specific about when (you should know that shops have to order things before they can sell them).
    – Stuart F
    Commented May 1 at 12:00
  • why do you interrupt the story about Sorry State with a digression about Pedigree Charm. The story is about RSD " Pedigree Charm lp "
    – Yves Lefol
    Commented May 1 at 12:10


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