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Questions tagged [past-vs-past-perfect]

is for questions about when to use the past tense versus the past perfect tense

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Past or perfect

Which is better? Now I need money. I have nothing to sell except the books that my mother has bought me. Or Now I need money. I have nothing to sell except the books that my mother bought me.
Thamilay's user avatar
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A problem with mixing tenses

In The Cradle Will Fall by Mary Higgins Clark: when he dropped her off that night he'd said,''you have the loveliest blue eyes I've ever had the pleasure of looking into.I don't think a twelve-year ...
foreignLearner's user avatar
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We had been / were waiting for an hour

We were waiting for an hour. We had been waiting for an hour when she finally came. we were waiting for an hour when she finally came. what's the difference in these sentences?
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Is past simple possible in "Today I learned that you (had) released an LP"?

I bought the single when it was out almost 4 years ago and since then I have always played it , still one of my faves . Today I learned that you (had) released an LP and but it seems to be sold out ...
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How to Address Ambiguity in Past-Perfect Clauses with Unclear Temporal Context

UPDATE: The question has been edited to make the compared examples more consistent with each other. [1] Beverly felt a relief that was similar to the relief she had felt when the bathroom was clean ...
MJ Ada's user avatar
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Why was I answered "yes it did" for this question "has the payment gone through?"?

I made an order through the net and as I was not sure my payment had gone through I sent an email(just after ordering) to be sure that the seller received it . So I asked "has my payment gone ...
Yves Lefol's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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Should I use past perfect here?

I got the record this morning but I can't listen to it because it is warped. But it did not happen in the transit, it was very well packed. The pressing of the record was itself a very bad one. I ...
Yves Lefol's user avatar
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Can you always substitute the 1st (event’s) Simple Past with Past Perfect, without changing meaning?

What changes semantically, when I replace the 1st preceding event's Past Tense with Past Perfect? If no semantics change, then can I always substitute the 1st event's Past Tense with Past Perfect? ...
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I showed him some snapshots that ... "I had taken in London” or "I took in London"

I understand the past perfect tense and I clearly understand the meaning of the sentence below. I showed him some snapshots that I had taken in London. However, a friend of mine asked me if the ...
kuwabara's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
237 views

“She played for a while” vs "She had played for a while"

Some time in the summer of 1981 Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon and Lee Ranaldo collided in NYC's Lower East Side and formed Sonic Youth. At the age of 18 Thurston had travelled from Connecticut to live ...
Yves Lefol's user avatar
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Past Perfect or Past Simple or Past Continuous!

I have the following task in my grammar book ‘A young man was walking through a supermarket. Suddenly he noticed that he (follow) by an old lady. I put ‘had been followed’ because it seemed to me that ...
Ilia Ivanov's user avatar
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Before she became queen, she had always said that she had not wanted to marry. - Indirect reported speech

This is about indirect reported speech: Before she became queen, she had always said that she does not want to marry. Looks logical to me (since the time has already been introduced with past perfect)...
JoHKa's user avatar
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The use of past perfect tense with "after" [duplicate]

This is a passage from "Never finished" by David Goggins. "I was hoping to find some answers that would help me change my life. That was what I told myself, anyway, as I crossed into ...
Jingyuan Liu's user avatar
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1 answer
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how to understand where it is better not to use Past Perfect?

I am confused, because I use Past Perfect even where it's not needed. Please, help me to figure out. For instance, why we don't say: We had had nothing in common with her, so we quickly lost contact....
KaraDen's user avatar
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"went, have gone, have been"?

I know that you use "have been to" instead of "have gone to" when you mention your past experience. But how about the case below? Italy was the first foreign country I went to. ...
kuwabara's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
659 views

When had you met him? vs. When did you meet him?

When I searched for "When had you met him" in Google Books, I found "Warren Commission: Complete Investigation & Commission's Report", which includes: Mr. GRIFFIN. Do you ...
listeneva's user avatar
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2 answers
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"could be" Vs "could have been" in this case

Question1: What caused the explosion? Answer1: The explosion could have been caused by a gas leak. (I think this is correct.) Answer2: The explosion could be caused by a gas leak. (I think this is ...
joy2020's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
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Is it true that when we use 'before' with the Past Perfect tense, the action in the past simple happens first?

I've stumbled across the following rule in the grammar book 'My Grammar Lab': with before + past perfect the action in the past simple happens first. The following example has been given: I left ...
Ольга Бракина's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
25 views

"couldn't have done" VS "couldn't do" in this example

A: The original plan was to start from the tree line at the bottom of the mountain but the explorers couldn’t set up camp there because of the rain so they moved higher up. B: The Robertson team ...
joy2020's user avatar
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Is it possible to use "already" with the past simple in this example?

I did not remember that I already bought it. or I did not remember that I had already bought it. I think that past simple works as it is not a narrative and it is obvious that the action of buying ...
Yves Lefol's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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Why is it correct to use the past simple "she did it" instead of the past perfect?

At the end of a movie, the main character kills the mean people and another person replies "she did it". Why did he use past simple? I would have used "she has done it* because the ...
Meedfried's user avatar
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1 answer
258 views

"He was employed since 2007"

"He was employed since 2007"(to date)".(is incorrect) "He was employed from 2007 to 2020".(is correct) "He had been employed since 2007".(is correct) I believe ...
Bilal Zafar's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
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Is it gramatically correct to use "had been" and "had" in a complex sentence like this?

My question is about using "had" and "had been" in a complex sentence. A character is flashing back over something that happened about an hour ago, and I write: "I had been ...
thewritergirl's user avatar
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1 answer
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Past perfect not being used in casual speech?

Is it true that most people don't use the past perfect in casual conversation and the following monologue is usual for native speakers? "So I saw Maggie and I asked her why she didn't come to the ...
Let's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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How to use the past perfect continuous tense appropriately?

Which of the following is a correct sentence? He was waiting for two hours after she had arrived. or He had been waiting for two hours after she had arrived.
Jelly_Fish's user avatar
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1 answer
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Can we use "before" after "than" as in "than before" for a sentence in past tense

Do the following sentences have the same meaning? a. The economic situation is better than before. b. The economic situation is better than it used to be. c. The economic situation is better than it ...
Kazuhiro7299's user avatar
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1 answer
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past and perfect tense

The young prince had a slender body smeared with sandal cream which had dried out; I understand that the incident is the narration of something that had happened. So "simple past - had a slender ...
Ammu's user avatar
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Isn't past simple in this exercise also correct?

The sentence is as follows: You see, when Elvis died, he _ (already, be) super famous for years. You have to use the verb in the bracket and put it into the right tense. I've used the past simple, ...
Gregor Lushaj's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
33 views

Can past simple past works too

I have found these two sentences where past perfect seems to be obligatory. I was just wondering if past simple can work too. Here are the examples: I had set my alarm before I went to bed, but ...
Yves Lefol's user avatar
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1 vote
3 answers
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Past participle vs simple past in 2 clause sentence

I was doing a grammar exercise about clauses with past perfect and past simple. I got the answer, but I want to understand the reason. This is the question - The doorbell woke me up. When the ...
gbrms's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
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In the centuries after the group separated/had separated?

I came across a sentence which has confused me because it is written in simple past instead of past perfect. The sentence is: In the centuries after the group separated, they evolved in two separate ...
Rayhan's user avatar
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0 answers
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were already developed vs had already been developed

In a previous question, I got an answer that says that you can't write "the song had already been well rehearsed" because once it is well rehearsed you don't need to rehearse the song. Would ...
Yves Lefol's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
159 views

I would never have understood what he meant/had meant if you hadn’t told me

Could someone help me understand what’s the difference between these two sentences? A. I would never have understood what he had meant if you hadn’t told me. B. I would never have understood what he ...
Alon's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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In terms of appropriateness, do (since + past) and (since + perfect) have different meaning and usage?

This problem is discussed in Advanced Oxford Grammar and the book explains that different tenses are possible in sentences with since. By the way, I quoted the explanations and some examples below: ...
user516076's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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Is this correct? (past tense vs past perfect)

I thought you would have picked him up from school. I had thought you would have picked him from school. In the first case "thought" verb on the timeline comes after the "picking"...
English--more exc than laws's user avatar
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1 answer
73 views

"I haven't" "I hadn't" "I didn't" Which one is the best in the context?

Please imagine you liked Super Mario when you were a kid and that you are going to play it for the first time in a decade or two. Before playing it, you'd say "Oh, I haven't played Super Mario ...
kuwabara's user avatar
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0 votes
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Simple past with the "by some point in the past" phrase. What to choose and when?

Why does it use the past simple tense rather than the past perfect (had been)? (1) Odenkirk confirmed by early September 2021 that he was back on set filming. The source: https://en.wikipedia.org/...
Let's user avatar
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1 answer
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Difference between was and had been

I would like to know how are the two sentences different in meaning: She was never bothered about the grandmother. She had never been bothered about the grandmother. What difference passive forms of ...
Learner's user avatar
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Simple past and past perfect tense [duplicate]

Stories are mostly written in simple past tense.(let's call it past 1) To explain an event that happened even before past 1 we use past perfect tense.(let's call it past 2) Now if we want to add a ...
Learner's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
451 views

past perfect with 'when' [duplicate]

Alice walked to the door when the doorbell rang Alice walked to the door when the doorbell had rung In (1) it is clear in which order the actions occured. The doorbell rang. Then, Alice walked to ...
adik's user avatar
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I wonder if the PP tense in some (or all) of these sentences is either optional or mandatory or wrong

Yesterday I watched the movie “Father”. I hadn’t expected it, but the movie proved to be a masterpiece. This morning I was surprised to learn that the 93d Oscar ceremony had been held last night, and ...
Let's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
144 views

Past perfect for two simultaneous events "Her business had proved that it was possible to be sustainable and profitable at the same time."

Could anyone please explain me why we use past perfect instead of past simple before “that” in the sentence below? As I understand, we use past perfect in a sequence of events to show that the action ...
Triol's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
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Questions related to tense

I am kind of confused.... Are the two sentences below the same? Let’s pretend that none of this had ever/never happened. Let’s pretend that none of this have ever/never happened. If it’s different, ...
honeybee's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
26 views

Are perfect and simple tenses interchangeable in these examples? Do they have any difference?

Sci-fi movies earned the most income each year between 2006 and 2010. Sci-fi movies had earned the most income each year between 2006 and 2010. It is forecast that car ownership will decline by 10% in ...
adik's user avatar
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0 answers
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Is the past perfect correct here?

From a movie. Two cyclists talking after a short race. A: How is that for slow? B: You gotta give me a second chance! I'll race you through the tunnel. A: You're on. Hadn't had enough? (meaning I ...
user1425's user avatar
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past perfect or past simple with work

is there any difference between these sentences? I had worked hard so I needed a break I worked hard so I needed a break
nomalura's user avatar
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Is "had" necessary in this sentence?

You failed 9 subjects before you graduated from college. I read up that its necessary for this to become "you had failed" since there are 2 past tense verbs, and because the "had" ...
Mikester919's user avatar
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0 answers
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"I tried to make an order but couldn't pay because you*had not accepted paypal payment yet."

I tried to make an order but couldn't pay because you had not accepted paypal payment yet. Will it be ok to use the present perfect or past simple. Is it possible to use yet with past simple? I ...
Yves Lefol's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
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"Why didn't he tell her what had happened?" "He had fallen on the floor"

Sometimes I am not sure whether or not I need to use the past perfect or leave it out completely. Why didn't he tell her what had happened? Why didn't he tell her what happened? (Are both of these ...
FalaGringo's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
110 views

"I was waiting at the train station when the rain had stopped."

In the following sentence: I was waiting at the train station when the rain had stopped. Is it correct to use the present continuous with the past perfect, or should I use the past simple? I was ...
Laith Leo's user avatar
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