Suppose it's the present day, and someone you know got home a really late than they were supposed to. So, which of the following sentences do you use?

A. I was getting worried thinking whether you had got home safe.

B. I was getting worried thinking whether you have got home safe.

C. I was getting worried thinking whether you got home safe.

Meaning wise, what's the difference between the above sentences? And here, the speaker is talking about the present.

  • 2
    This question would work better if you substituted wondering for thinking. wondering is more appropriate for situations where you are not sure about the outcome, and is a lot more common than thinking when used with whether.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


I was getting worried is past continuous, so the got home part must also be past. A (past perfect simple) and C (past simple) are OK, but B (present perfect simple) doesn't sound right- it's too present.

A is about whether the listener arrived home before the speaker was worrying, and C is about whether the listener arrived home at some unspecified time before now, so A is technically correct, but most listeners would understand the same meaning in C.

Note that you should really use the adverb safely rather than the adjective safe, as it applies to the verb get home. Not everybody practices this distinction though.

  • 1
    I agree with this answer, although it is worth mentioning that in American English, the form for option A would more commonly be styled as "whether you had gotten home safe" or "whether you had gotten home safely." Commented May 30, 2016 at 18:19
  • Which of them sentences do i use if i want to convey my worrying (the speaker) started before the listener (had) got home? Let's put it this way.. The listener's supposed to get home, and call you. So, you're getting worried because it's late, and they haven't called you. And when they do call you, which of them given sentences do you use? Commented May 30, 2016 at 18:26
  • @lekonchekon, if you wanted to give the impression that you were already worrying before the expected arrival time, for example if you expected that bad weather might cause problems, you would say "whether you would get home". Once the expected arrival time has passed, then "whether you had got home" fits the bill.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 18:37

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