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    • Join Date: Sep 2006
    • Posts: 48
    #1

    Past/Past Perfect

    1. He put the letter in the mailbox.

    2. He had put the letter in the mailbox.

    Are both sentences grammatically correct? And are they different in meaning? Why would the past perfect be used when the simple past would convey the same meaning?

    Thank you.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #2

    Re: Past/Past Perfect

    1. He put the letter in the mailbox, got back in his car, and drove off.

    2. He had just put the letter in the mailbox when the mail collection van arrived.
    Past Perfect is used to make it clear that one event happened before another in the past. It does not matter which event is mentioned first - the tense makes it clear which one happened first:
    The mail collection van arrived just as he had put the letter in the mailbox.
    They are linked because of the effect, influence or consequences of the earlier action for the second, namely, he just made it in time to catch the next pickup.

    "As a child, I dreamed of visiting so many countries. It never did happen."
    compare:
    "I had always dreamed of visiting Europe, and so, with the lottery win, I packed my bags and..."

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