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    #1

    past perfect or simple past

    Please tell me what tense must be used in the following sentence, past perfect or simple past:

    The generator had been started by 01:27.

    or

    The generator was started by 01:27.


    Thanks in advance.

  1. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: past perfect or simple past

    The past perfect is not needed in your sentence because 'You need some other act in the past to use the past perfect.'── quoted from https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/t...86#post1042786

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    #3

    Re: past perfect or simple past

    But isn't "by 01:27" an indication that the action took place before some point in the past?

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    #4

    Re: past perfect or simple past

    Do you mean the generator was started at 01:27? 'By' means any time before 01:27

    When the time in the past is stated, you use the past tense.

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  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: past perfect or simple past

    Quote Originally Posted by Larisa_rog View Post
    some point in the past
    You need 'some other act in the past' rather than 'some point in the past' to use the past perfect.

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    #6

    Re: past perfect or simple past

    The generator was started not at, but before 01:27. I am sorry, but I would like to have my question answered by a native-speaker.

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    #7

    Re: past perfect or simple past

    The saying in my post#2 was quoted from a native English speaker, Barb_D.

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    #8

    Re: past perfect or simple past

    If the generator was started before the particular point in time in the past,
    the past perfect is apppropriate.

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    #9

    Re: past perfect or simple past

    Neither must be used.
    It depends on what you want to stress.

    Is it simply important that it was on by that time? Use simple past.

    Is it important that you make it clear it was running (and maybe had been running for some time) at that time? Use past perfect.
    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.

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