# Thread: Why the past perfect?

1. ## Why the past perfect?

Hello!

I have got a excerpt from a story, 'Standing at the opposite end of the bridge was a giant of a man. He had started to cross at the same time as the outlaw'.

Would that have the same meaning to you if I, say, replaced the past perfect with the past simple?

I would be grateful if you, dear teachers, would proofread my post.

Thanks, Alex.

2. ## Re: Why the past perfect?

I have got a excerpt from a story, 'Standing at the opposite end of the bridge was a giant of a man. He had started to cross at the sametime as the outlaw'.

If he was at the opposite end of the bridge, then he had not started to cross. Only the past simple is correct. The crossing started after the standing

If had left the far end of the bridge on his way towards the middle, only the past perfect is appropriate, as in:

Standing some way across the bridge was a giant of a man. He had started to cross at the same time as the outlaw.

3. ## Re: Why the past perfect?

Hello!

I have got a excerpt from a story, 'Standing at the opposite end of the bridge was a giant of a man. He had started to cross at the same as the outlaw'.

Would that have the same meaning to you if, say, I replaced the past perfect with the past simple?

I would be grateful if you, dear teachers, would proofread my post.

Thanks, Alex.
It depends. Use of the past perfect, as in your example, the reader/listener would expect another past action that should be expressed in the simple past tense, e.g. "He had started to cross the bridge.......when he noticed a gun in the outlaw's belt". But either past perfect or simple past would work in your example.

4. ## Re: Why the past perfect?

Hello!

I have got a excerpt from a story, 'Standing at the opposite end of the bridge was a giant of a man. He had started to cross at the same as the outlaw'.

Would that have the same meaning to you if, say, I replaced the past perfect with the past simple?

I would be grateful if you, dear teachers, would proofread my post.

Thanks, Alex.
Little John (I assume: File:Robin Hood and Little John, by Louis Rhead 1912.png - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) started to cross the bridge at the same time as Robin Hood. This preceded the standing. The order of actions is important to underline Little John's deliberateness. He had stepped onto the bridge intentionally, confrontationally; I bet he'd crossed his arms!

If you used the simple past, people would probably get the gist, and work out the sequence of evemts for themselves. It'd be kinder and clearer if you saved them the trouble.

b

5. ## Re: Why the past perfect?

You are a great help! Now, I belive I have got it.

BobK, I would like to give you my separate thanks for being a fan (like me!) of that wonderful outlaw. British people should proud of a man like Robin Hood and I am sure they do.

Thanks, Alex.

6. ## Re: Why the past perfect?

We and the Americans certainly enjoy watching films based on the legend - List of films and television series featuring Robin Hood - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

7. ## Re: Why the past perfect?

By the way, how do you think the name Robin has got anyting to do with the verb rob?

8. ## Re: Why the past perfect?

By the way, how do you think the name Robin has got anyting to do with the verb rob?
No

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