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  1. #1
    kohyoongliat is offline Senior Member
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    Default arrived / had arrived

    The firemen arrived / had arrived to fight the fire, which was spreading quickly.

    Which verb (in bold) should I use?

  2. #2
    Philly is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: arrived / had arrived

    I'd use arrived unless something in the broader context justified the use of the past perfect.

  3. #3
    Harry Smith's Avatar
    Harry Smith is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: arrived / had arrived

    Quote Originally Posted by kohyoongliat View Post
    The firemen arrived / had arrived to fight the fire, which was spreading quickly.

    Which verb (in bold) should I use?
    I'd say "arrived". The firemen arrived in order to fight the fire spreading guickly.

  4. #4
    Philly is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: arrived / had arrived

    Hmmm, I'm not quite sure what you intended to convey with that wink, Harry, but I think your rewording has done some damage to what used to be a perfectly good sentence.

  5. #5
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: arrived / had arrived

    Quote Originally Posted by kohyoongliat View Post
    The firemen arrived / had arrived to fight the fire, which was spreading quickly.

    Which verb (in bold) should I use?
    Either - as Philly said, the wider context might call for the past perfect.

    b

  6. #6
    kohyoongliat is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: arrived / had arrived

    Thanks to all who have replied to my query.

    Could you please elaborate what you mean by "a wider context might call for a past perfect"?

  7. #7
    kohyoongliat is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: arrived / had arrived

    Thanks to all who have replied to my query.

    In my opinion, the firemen's arrival constitutes the first action if past perfect tense is used. In this case, the fire spreading quickly is the first action. Therefore, it would appear that 'arrived' should be used. I stand corrected.

  8. #8
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: arrived / had arrived

    Quote Originally Posted by kohyoongliat View Post
    Thanks to all who have replied to my query.

    Could you please elaborate what you mean by "a wider context might call for a past perfect"?
    There are several things that have to be done when there's a fire: getting people out and keeping them warm/safe, warning the neighbours, calling the fire-brigade, organizing traffic diversions ... etc. In some contexts, the past perfect would be needed - We called the fire-brigade at 10.30, but by 11.00 they had not arrived - and the fire was spreading fast by then.


    b

  9. #9
    Harry Smith's Avatar
    Harry Smith is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: arrived / had arrived

    If we say "had arrived" it'll mean when the firemen came the fire hadn't started yet.

  10. #10
    kohyoongliat is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: arrived / had arrived

    Are you implying that 'arrived' should be used because the fire had started and was spreading quickly before the arrival of the fireman?

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