I sent my person to our client's site but the client's office was closed. Two days later he called me to enquire about the visit.

Which tense should I use. Past perfect or simple past? Why?


I sent my person to your office but it was closed

Or should I use past perfect

I had sent my person to your office but it was closed

  • 2
    When you use the past simple, it means that those actions happened right after another, so if it's clear which action happened first, you don't need to use past perfect.
    – Schwale
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 16:10

2 Answers 2


Simple past is the most appropriate tense here. This is because, in this case, you're just referring to something in the past: You sent your person. The office was closed. You don't need anything more complicated than that.

Past perfect is used when we're referring to something that occurred before something else. For example, you might say, "Before my person returned, I had thought that the office was open," because the thinking occurred before your person returned, or "I had sent my person to the office before I learned it was closed", because the sending came first, then the learning. If you say "I had sent my person to your office but it was closed", it's unclear, because it sounds like you're going to refer to a second event, but there is no second event in the sentence.


Your response should use the simple past but include the date and time if possible:

"I sent my person [on Tuesday shortly after 3:00 p.m.], but your office was closed.

Alternatively, you could say or write,

"I sent my person to your office, but it was closed when he arrived."

The past perfect in either case is not necessary in this instance.

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