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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    No one saw the truck which knocked/had knocked

    Can both 'knocked' and 'had knocked' be correct in the sentence below?

    No one saw the truck which knocked/had knocked the elderly man down.

    If both cannot be correct answers, in what contexts then should the simple past and the past perfect be used accordingly? I learnt that if there is a past-tense marker like 'ago', the simple past tense will do. However, I just wonder if there isn't any time marker so to speak, like the sentence above, what then should be the correct or preferred answer, and why?

    Thank you.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: No one saw the truck which knocked/had knocked

    The use of the past perfect depends more on the context, and the surrounding sentences. Yes, they can both be right.
    "The old man was taken to the hospital after being hit by a truck. No one saw the truck that [had] knocked him down." Either works here, though the past perfect is possible because you have a more recent event in the past (being taken to the hospital).
    It's hard to learn rules for the past perfect. You should use it if the simple past makes the situation confusing. It's not confusing here, so you don't actually need it.
    "He was taken to the hospital and knocked down by a truck." This is not a good sentence.
    "He was taken to the hospital because he had been knocked down by a truck." This is a good usage.

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