Then, in November 2005, just as crucial depositions were both scheduled and proceeding and Avery stood to receive his money, he was suddenly and sensationally arrested for the murder of a freelance photographer named Teresa Halbach, who had come to Avery’s Auto Salvage on Halloween to photograph a truck for an auto magazine, and whose SUV had been found on the Avery property, as eventually were her scattered and charred remains.

(New York Review of Books)

When I read the above excerpt I was thinking about why the whole last part is not told in the past perfect. Can you explain to me why is "had been scattered and charred remains" not used? This event as I suppose happened before November, 2005 so I would use the past perfect as in the case of preceding events. Or am I wrong and the simple past indicates that the remains of her body was found substantially later than her car?

  • 1
    Probably because the speaker/writer does not precisely know how much later the remains were found after the SUV was found. Notice the perfect past tenses are used to establish a timeline, and the lack of use here signals that that event can't be placed in the timeline precisely.
    – LawrenceC
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 13:53

1 Answer 1


As indicated by the adverb “eventually”, the usage of past simple tense reflects the chronological succession of the lattermost event with respect to the event described in past perfect simple.

Moreover, it is not clear whether the finding of the remains preceded the arrest.

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