When you explain to someone that you realized or noticed something at a certain point, should the realizing or noticing be past perfect or simple past or present perfect?

I emailed you because I had realized that you would not be here tomorrow.

I emailed you because I realized that you were not going to be here tomorrow.


We decided not to go because we had noticed that the place we had chosen *would/will* not be nice.


We noticed that you have created your own program." or "We noticed that you created your own program.

1 Answer 1


I'd suggest:

I emailed you because I just realized that you {aren't going to / won't} be here tomorrow.

For the second sentence:

We decided not to go because we noticed that the place we'd chosen isn't very nice.

And for the third sentence:

We noticed that you've created your own program.
We noticed that you created your own program.

These are all idiomatic American English and appropriate for emails and other informal communication.

  • So I shouldn't push the realizing/noticing things further back by using past perfect, right?
    – jess
    May 19, 2013 at 16:32
  • @jess: It's not necessary, except in the second sentence in my answer, which is in past perfect: the place we had chosen. But for noticing/realizing that the choice was a bad one, no, you don't need the past perfect in this context.
    – user264
    May 19, 2013 at 16:46
  • Okay, that makes sense. For the second sentence, can I do what you did in the first sentence? "...the place we had chosen won't be very nice"?
    – jess
    May 19, 2013 at 18:19
  • And so for something like this, "I was wondering where it went," I should use "where it had went," right?
    – jess
    May 19, 2013 at 18:28
  • @jess: If it's generally not very nice, then use the simple present because it's habitually "not very nice"; otherwise, it means "not very nice" is exceptional & a transient condition. "Where it had gone" is the correct form, but in this case, "where it was" is also fine. There is usually more than one "proper/standard/natural/correct" way of saying things: context is always important.
    – user264
    May 20, 2013 at 0:28

You must log in to answer this question.

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