[Grammar] Past tense or past perfect?

Qafsiel

Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2017
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Romanian
Home Country
Romania
Current Location
Romania
What tense should I use in the sentence: When the normans started to rule England, my city ''didn't (even) exist'' -or- ''hadn't (even) existed''?
How is correct
 

GoesStation

No Longer With Us
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Write When the Normans conquered England, my city didn't (even) exist.

"Normans" is a proper noun. Its first letter has to be capitalized.
 

smalltalk

Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2017
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I am not a grammarian, however, looking online I see that the past perfect tense indicates that an action was completed (or not completed) at some point in the past before something else happened. I would say that a mere state of existence is not the same as an action which has or has not ended. If your city didn't exist, well, it simply didn't exist and you can say so.

With regard to using the past perfect, I believe this would be appropriate if one were to write, for example, "When the Normans started to rule England, the construction of our cathedral had already been completed (or hadn't been completed)." Or, to use the verb "exist" specifically, one might say, "When the Normans started to rule England, my city had existed for less than 10 years", again, showing the completion of, in this case, a period of existence with reference to another event (Normans starting to rule England).

Perhaps others can correct or clarify my comments, as needed.
 

GoesStation

No Longer With Us
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
The adverb "even" adds an expression of surprise or emphasis to a statement: The new President has never served in the armed forces. He hasn't even been elected to anything before! Given that the Norman Invasion occurred almost a thousand years ago, it's hard to think of a context where "even" would work in your sentence.
 
Top