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  1. #1
    carat is offline Junior Member
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    past tense and past perfect

    Are my both sentences possible?
    He was in Cuba the preceding winter. (past tense)
    He had been in Cuba the preceding winter. (past perfect)

    In German that's almost the same, at least when it comes to their usage in common speech.
    What's the differnce in English?

  2. #2
    Rover_KE is online now Moderator
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    Re: past tense and past perfect

    You need a reason for using the past perfect. It can't be the only verb tense in a stand-alone sentence.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 31-Aug-2017 at 22:00.

  3. #3
    carat is offline Junior Member
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    Re: past tense and past perfect

    @Rover_KE
    As I understand it the sentence #1 is okay. The usage of the past perfect in my second sentence depends from the context. Did I get this right?
    If so, please go more into details. Give me an example. As I said, in German it doesn't make a great difference. As a consequence it's difficult
    for me to distinguish the tenses in an approriate and correct way in English. Please keep also in mind that I'm an autodidact. My school days are long over.
    I just do this for fun!
    Thanks.

  4. #4
    teechar's Avatar
    teechar is offline Moderator
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    Re: past tense and past perfect

    For example:
    My uncle will go to Trinidad for his holidays this year. He was in Cuba the previous winter.
    My uncle died last week while on holiday in Trinidad. He had been in Cuba the previous winter.

    Note that instead of "preceding", I used "previous" which I think is more natural in that context. "Preceding" is more formal.

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