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I have a question concerning the use of Past Perfect and Past Simple in a given situation.

It was a tragedy that Abraham Lincoln, who had led the North to victory and was now ready to be generous to the South, didn’t survive / hadn’t survive to make the peace. Five days after General Lee had surrendered / surrendered at Appomattox, Lincoln was assassinated.

What is the difference in the meaning of these two options?

I mean, when two options are possible I suppose that there is a difference in the meaning. If in this context I'll say "Five days after General Lee had surrendered, Lincoln was assassinated" how would it be different from saying "Five days after General Lee surrendered, Lincoln was assassinated"? Is there any difference or it doesn't matter? I'll be really grateful for some explanation in this context even if it's been explained already in the mentioned topic, because it's not clear for me. :)

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  • No, I'm not asking which answer is correct. I'm just asking about the difference beteween them (they're both correct).
    – szop
    Apr 8 '13 at 18:52
  • Have a look at @FumbleFingers' answer on that question. The verbs there are came/had come and was studying/had studied, but the same rules apply to had surrendered/surrendered. FumbleFingers explains what the different forms mean on that page.
    – Matt
    Apr 8 '13 at 19:32
  • @szop: If you think FumbleFingers' answer on that question doesn't answer your question, you need to edit your question to clearly state what you want from an answer that isn't given by his answer on the other question. Otherwise this question should be closed as a duplicate.
    – Matt
    Apr 8 '13 at 19:34
  • Ok, I'll try to explain that, because after reading FumbleFingers' answer I still don't get it.
    – szop
    Apr 8 '13 at 20:05
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    @szop: It's permissible to use Past Perfect had surrendered in your example, but it's certainly not required. Per the linked answer, PP is normally only required where it's needed to distinguish actions that are even earlier than those of the "primary" narrative focus. KISS! Having said that, I probably would use it in your case - if only because you start with It was a tragedy (not It is a tragedy). Btw - *hadn't survive is grammatically invalid, and I doubt anyone would endorse PP hadn't survived there either. The hypothetical survival isn't "earlier" than anything. Apr 8 '13 at 21:18