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    #1

    past perfect

    Is the past perfect obligatory in the sentence below?

    I contacted him to ask him about something he had written in his book.

    Would "he wrote" also be correct?

    Thanks.

  1. Offroad's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: past perfect

    Very nice question.

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    #3

    Re: past perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    Is the past perfect obligatory in the sentence below?

    I contacted him to ask him about something he had written in his book.

    Would "he wrote" also be correct?

    Thanks.
    I think "had written" seems to be better and more formal, but I do not rule out "wrote".

    I also feel that "had written" gives the idea that "something" was written in the book a longer time ago, while "wrote" gives the idea that it was written more recently.

    Finally I think the second "him" could be omitted:
    "I contacted him to ask about something he had written in his book.

    PS Not a native speaker

  2. kfredson's Avatar

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    #4

    Re: past perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    I think "had written" seems to be better and more formal, but I do not rule out "wrote".

    I also feel that "had written" gives the idea that "something" was written in the book a longer time ago, while "wrote" gives the idea that it was written more recently.

    Finally I think the second "him" could be omitted:
    "I contacted him to ask about something he had written in his book.

    PS Not a native speaker
    Yminsky is right on both counts. If I had just seen a student write something in his neighbor's notebook I might ask him what it was he wrote. But if it was written some time ago, it requires the past perfect.

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