I had seen vs I saw

Arnold99

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That was the first time in my life ................. Donald Trump , and the last, I suspect.
That was the first time in my life ................. the Queen in flesh.

In both cases I used 'I saw'. What's the difference between them? Which one is correct in each case?

P.S I have more questions and I wouldn't want to spam the forums with each, do you mind if I ask them here as well?
 

Rover_KE

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Welcome to the forum, Arnold.

In both cases, use 'I had seen'.

Note: '... in the flesh'.

Ask as many questions as you like, with a title specific to each, and not more than three a day.
 

Arnold99

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Thanks, mind if I ask why "I saw" is not correct there?
 

Raymott

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To me, "I saw" could work. The choice of the past perfect is often suggested by surrounding sentences - a single sentence is not always enough to decide.
 

emsr2d2

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In BrE, we use a perfect tense whenever we talk about "ever" or the "first time" of doing something.

This is the first time I have ever met Donald Trump.
That was the first time I had ever met Donald Trump.
This is the first time in my life that I have eaten sushi.
That was the first time in my life that I had eaten sushi.
 

Raymott

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"The first time ever I'd seen your face ... "?
 

emsr2d2

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The usual disclaimer about song lyrics applies here - "The first time I had ever seen your face" wouldn't fit the rhythm of the song.
 

emsr2d2

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You're right and I agree about the sentences without "This is/That was". For your French example, I'd say "That was the first time I had eaten garlic" but I agree that yours is correct too.
 

Rover_KE

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