past tense and past perfect

carat

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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?
 

Rover_KE

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You need a reason for using the past perfect. It can't be the only verb tense in a stand-alone sentence.
 
Last edited:

carat

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@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.
 

teechar

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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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