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When our country got its independence, the man called "blah blah" had said we weren't ready for it.

When our country got its independence, the man called "blah blah" said we weren't ready for it.

I'm kinda having a verbal fight with a friend. He says the first one and second one have no difference between them. I say, in the first one, the act of blah blah's saying what he said occurred before the country got independent. And in the second one mean he said it at time the country got its independence.

Am i right here, or is he right here?

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    You're right--but the when phrase may designate an extended period of time rather than a specific moment, so depending on the precise context there's room for your friend to be at least half-right, too. – StoneyB May 18 '16 at 18:50
  • But, when we use had, don't we mean some incident that occurred before some other incident occurred? @StoneyB – lekon chekon May 18 '16 at 19:21
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    Yes, but without more context we can't be certain what that other event was--whether it was your country's getting its independence or some other event that occurred during the period when it got its independence. – StoneyB May 18 '16 at 20:46
  • @StoneyB, i know i shouldn't be dragging this matter. But, wouldn't you say "When our country got its independence, the man called "blah blah" had said ", this part means the act of the man saying what he said occurred before the independence? – lekon chekon May 19 '16 at 8:59
  • That's the 'default' interpretation; but it could also mean "Back on an occasion in the days when we first got our independence, so-and-so had said we weren't ready for it . . ." – StoneyB May 19 '16 at 9:26

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