Look at this sentence from an exercise "choose the correct form"

I did not know about it. Nobody (told/had told) me about what had happened

I choose 'told' and the correct answer was 'had told' but I am almost sure that my choice is possible. What do you think?

  • 2
    There are three times here. When the thing happened; when you weren't told about it, and when you didn't know. Either choice is possible, and which one is better depends on whether you think you should have been told in the time frame when it happened, or whether you think you should have been told closer to the time that you didn't know about it. Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 1:24

1 Answer 1


Your answer is grammatically correct, so it is not wrong, but it is not the best of the two answers. Here's why:

I did not know about it.

This establishes that we're talking about something in the past – a time when you did not know something. (Clearly, you know about it now, because you're talking about it!)

Now imagine that you say the second sentence as an answer to, "Why didn't you know about it?" And you want to say that you were not told about it. When should you have been told about it? Before you were expected to know, of course!

So if you "not knowing" is in the past, then the time when you were not told is the "past of past". For this reason, the past perfect is the better answer.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .