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Are the below sentence constructions are correct for past perfect tense? I am aware that past perfect tense is used to tell about past of past i.e. if there are two actions in the past and we want to emprise on which action completed first.

My question is, Are the below sentence constructions are correct as past perfect tense because these sentences have two past? Or simply simple past tense will do?

I want to tell someone that

1 Past) He had called me 2nd Past) but I could not picked his call because of xyz reason.

1 Past) I had gone there for interview 2nd Past) but did not get select due to xyz reason.

1 Past) Where you had gone 2nd Past) when I called you?

Or simply simple past tense will do?

marked as duplicate by Alan Carmack, Peter, Em., ColleenV, shin Jul 21 '16 at 4:12

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  • I could not picked his call doesn't make sense in English. When we use a modal like could, we don't conjugate the next verb, we just use the bare infinitive. Also, I think you want the modal verb "to pick up". So the whole thing would be "I could not pick up his call". – stangdon Jul 20 '16 at 12:39
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For examples 1 and 2, you are talking about 2 short actions that happened in the past, one chaining the other, so in those situations, I would rather prefer using Past Perfect.

He had called me, but I could not pick his call.

I had gone there for an interview, but wasn't selected.

But about your 3rd example, you can take the 1st part (where were you) as a continuous action, or a verb describing a state. I would prefer saying:

Where were you when I called you?

Or even,

Where have you been when I called you?

But it can also be described using Past Progressive (if we're talking about actively going somewhere, and not only being there)

Where were you going to when I called you?

But I would not use

Where had you been when I called you?

Because past perfect is used to describe two actions, one chaining the other, which is not the situation in that sentence.

  • 1
    Thank you for letting me kind of be able to grab a sense of the use of past perfect^^ – vincentlin Jan 23 '18 at 16:10

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