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7 votes
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past perfect with 'when'

Example 1 is typical grammatical, idiomatic English. Example 2 is awkward and doesn't really work as it stands. It's as though something is missing, as in: Alice walked to the door when the doorbell ...
Ronald Sole's user avatar
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6 votes
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When I was in Tokyo, I [saw] or [had seen] the movie three times?

When I was in Tokyo, I saw the movie three times. "was" simple past and "saw" simple past, puts both actions at the same time When I was in Tokyo, I had seen the movie three times. "was" simple ...
Peter's user avatar
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6 votes
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Why is the Past Perfect not used here?

We use the past perfect (had left/had contracted/had stipulated) to specify that an event in the past happened before another event in the past, and yes, it would be hard to stipulate something after ...
stangdon's user avatar
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6 votes
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Past Perfect Continuous vs Past Simple

As is often the case with aspectual distinctions in English (perfect or not; continuous or not) both are possible, depending on how the speaker is choosing to present the temporal structure of the ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
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5 votes
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What is the difference between "what had been" and "what was" in this quote?

The story is narrated in the past tense. To refer to a time in Elizabeth's past, earlier than the time of her writing of the letter, the narrator uses the past perfect. Elizabeth was determined to ...
TimR's user avatar
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5 votes
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This is the watch that I (have/had/--) lost. -- what's the difference?

As you say, what you would ordinarily say is This is the watch that I lost. If you are required by the imbecility of testwriters to use a perfect, it must be a past perfect. Because you now have ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
5 votes

When I was in Tokyo, I [saw] or [had seen] the movie three times?

Past Perfect is mostly used to speak about an event in the past that happened before another event in the past. We use Past Perfect for something that started in the past and continued up to a ...
SovereignSun's user avatar
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4 votes
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If you came [had come] tomorrow, I might be [have been] able to help you.​

The following three sentences mean different things. If you had come tomorrow, I might have been able to help you. This sentence is a counterfactual. It means that, because you came today instead ...
Peter Shor 's user avatar
4 votes

using perfect tense before "before"

Because before is used it is clear that the explaining of the rules happened first, then the programme started. Because of this, past perfect is optional. In my opinion both sentences have the same ...
anouk's user avatar
  • 3,954
4 votes

Why "I hadn't noticed" instead of "I didn't notice"/"I haven't notice"?

While the three say the same thing about the past, they say very different things about the present. “I hadn’t noticed” means I didn’t notice that before, but I do now. “I haven’t noticed” means I ...
StephenS's user avatar
  • 8,139
3 votes

Is the usage of tenses correct in this sentence - "two days had passed since she had last eaten or slept"

Both examples are fine (the semantic difference is simply whether the "narrative time" is in the present or the past). But it's unnecessary to repeat the Past Perfect with she had last eaten in the ...
FumbleFingers's user avatar
3 votes

Should I use past perfect for these sentences?

The past simple versions of all three sentences are grammatically correct, and are very clear. They sound natural to my (American) ear. (These versions use "went".) The past perfect versions of ...
Jasper's user avatar
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3 votes

"He had a gun." or "He has had a gun."

They are not the same and neither is incorrect, but they have different meanings. "Had" by itself is the past tense, while "Has had" is the present perfect, meaning it began in the past and continues ...
Stephen C's user avatar
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3 votes

What should I say "Had Happened" Or "happened"?

We normally use a Perfect tense when we want to: Talk about how a verb before a time of focus on affected that time Talk about a verb beginning before the time of focus which continued until or ...
Epanoui's user avatar
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3 votes
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Died or had died?

The correct one is: Two years have passed since my cousin died. The past-perfect tense is usually combined only with simple past or other past-perfect clauses. Combining present perfect and past ...
joiedevivre's user avatar
  • 4,660
3 votes
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past verb vs has/have been when they are used?

It just depends, Alice. Usually the present perfect ("has been") is used in a general sense in the past whereas the simple past ("was") is used for a specific time in the past or less general time in ...
Nick's user avatar
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3 votes

"You would not have got the flu if you {ate/had eaten} more fruit." - what is the difference?

Your second sentence is a correct third conditional form as these forms are taught to English language learners. Your first sentence has a difference in nuance that is not necessarily grammatically ...
joiedevivre's user avatar
  • 4,660
3 votes
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Is the past perfect necessary when one action clearly precedes another?

When words like "after" and "before" are used in a sentence the sequence of events is clear and past perfect is optional. So either past perfect or past simple is fine. If you change "after" to " when"...
anouk's user avatar
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3 votes
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The order of actions (in the example sentence)

The talking happened before the arrival. What might be confusing to you is the fact that the arrived is in past perfect, while the talked is in the simple past. The fact there's a past perfect in the ...
SamBC's user avatar
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3 votes
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What is difference past simple and past perfect in this sentence?

The past perfect is used for past-in-past; that is to say, things further back in time than the main time of the sentence. Thus, the report is saying that Trump vetoed a measure - simple past. ...
SamBC's user avatar
  • 22.8k
3 votes

Have been found vs were found

While reporting news, "have been" is generally preferred to "were". One of the reasons for this is to indicate that this event happened in the recent past.
joe's user avatar
  • 139
3 votes

What is the difference between "introduced", "had introduced" and "have introduced"?

The difference is in how the speaker (writer) is choosing to structure the temporal relationships. In many contexts, there is more than one possible choice; sometimes some of the choices are ruled out ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
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3 votes
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I've lost my key, but I found it just now

Neither is correct. "I've lost" (I have lost) is the present perfect tense. It is not logically possible for you to simultaneously have lost and found your key, which makes the first example ...
Astralbee's user avatar
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3 votes

Is it gramatically correct to use "had been" and "had" in a complex sentence like this?

The simple past, "...suddenly opened...", is correct. For tenses in dialogue, we're just dealing normal speech, rather than having to adjust for the narrative simple past of the story itself....
gotube's user avatar
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3 votes

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

I'm not sure it needs "explanation", because "had played" would also be reasonable. I suppose you might interpret the (probably unconscious) choice to shift from past perfect to ...
James K's user avatar
  • 226k
2 votes

Past perfect or past simple with before

The second sentence describes an event in the past ("it was 8:30") and an earlier event related to that event; at that time (8:30) the fact that "my brother arrived" was already a past event. The ...
laugh salutes Monica C's user avatar
2 votes

He "left" a comment on website this morning vs "had left"

Using the past tense would be more proper, although both can work. Ms. Koo. one of our regular customers, left a question regarding the usage of the new vacuum cleaner on our website this ...
Davyd's user avatar
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2 votes

Past Perfect vs Past Simple are they interchangeable in this sentence?

When I woke up I realized that I had overslept. As it turned out my alarm didn't go off. This is very slightly wrong. When didn't it go off? There are three times mentioned: The time when your ...
Michael Lorton's user avatar
2 votes

Should I use past perfect for these sentences?

We use past perfect to describe something that happened before an event in the past- to indicate sequence relative to something in the past. In sentence 2, two days ago defines something that ...
JavaLatte's user avatar
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2 votes
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Should I include the second had in "Had he died like Nietzsche **had** declared?"

In order too fully determine whether the second "had" is necessary, you may need to finish the context of your sentence. Had he died like Nietzsche had said (when / about what)? The sentence ...
Peter's user avatar
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