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  1. Gorkem Atay's Avatar
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    #1

    had been stolen/was stolen

    1. ''He noticed that his wallet had been stolen.''

    2. ''He noticed that his wallet was stolen.''


    I know the perfect one is the first one but, I want to know whether there is a very big difference in terms of meaning of them.

    Thanks.

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: had been stolen/was stolen

    I am sure that the first one is indeed the better choice. (He looked for his wallet where he knew it should have been, and it was gone.) However, if you would ask me why number one is better than number two I would be at a loss to explain why. (However, I could say that it would be better to say that he noticed that his wallet was gone.)


  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: had been stolen/was stolen

    IMO, the first is better. "He noticed" is in the past tense. His wallet was stolen before that time. That is a major use of the past perfect. That said, the second is understandable and would be used by many.

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: had been stolen/was stolen

    The more questions I see on the past perfect, the more I realize how idiomatic the use of past perfect is. That means, essentially, that native speakers use it a certain way simply because they use it a certain way.

    There are many times when English learners are sure that the past perfect is needed because one action is before the other, and we native speakers way "No, it's clear enough without. You don't need past perfect; simple past is fine."

    And then there are times when the sequence is equally clear (you can notice the wallet is missing only if the theft of the wallet took place earlier), but we say "It sounds so much better to our native ears to use the past perfect."

    I'm afraid this is one of those times.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  5. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: had been stolen/was stolen

    Yes, in this case, even without a timing adverb such as "before" or "after", logic takes care of the sequencing of events.

  6. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: had been stolen/was stolen

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    You don't need past perfect; simple past is fine."
    Can my following example go to show that?
    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/t...any-produced#1
    Last edited by Matthew Wai; 18-Jul-2014 at 07:04. Reason: typo

  7. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: had been stolen/was stolen

    Yes. Your example is right on point.

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