Anonymous:
Hi, If someone could please tell me what mistakes I'm making using past perfect properly in this past-tense first person narrative, I would appreciate it so much.

I had met Jill nearly twelve years earlier when I had been pushed into a foam tumbling pit on my first day of gymnastics class. While I struggled to get out, crying, she grabbed my hands and attempted to lift me out, but despite digging in her heels and pulling with all her might, eventually fell to join me in the pit. We spent the rest of the class burrowing tunnels in the foam blocks and talking about how mean our instructor was. Ally had joined our class the next week, and the three of us had been best friends ever since, although the dynamic between Ally and Jill could often be slightly less than friendly.

What do I need to change in order to use past perfect correctly and make this paragraph grammatically correct? Thank you to anyone who can help! Emotion: smile

PS- Do I need a "she" before "eventually"??

Anything else grammatically incorrect/clunky with this paragraph?

Thank You!!
The problem is that there is no call for past perfect at all in your paragraph.

I met Jill nearly twelve years ago, when I was pushed into a foam tumbling pit on my first day of gymnastics class. While I struggled to get out, crying, she grabbed my hands and attempted to lift me out, but despite digging in her heels and pulling with all her might, she eventually fell in to join me in the pit. We spent the rest of the class burrowing tunnels in the foam blocks and talking about how mean our instructor was. Ally joined our class the next week, and the three of us have been best friends ever since, although the dynamic between Ally and Jill has often been slightly less than friendly.

'She' is indeed needed.
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Anonymous:
Thanks, but really?! Because the narrator is already telling the story in the past tense...i.e "Jill entered the classroom and took her seat." So if the narrator then "goes back in time" to give exposition as to how and when she met Jill, wouldn't that necessitate past perfect?

Like saying "...the three of us have been best friends ever since...." as you suggest, would not be telling this story from a past tense perspective as I intend, and as most first-person stories are written, right?
Really. You have no Jill taking her seat in the context you presented, ergo, no past perfect. Maybe no past perfect anyway. In any case, next time you post, have the courtesy to post all the relevant text. I don't like to play guessing games about what other text may be hiding elsewhere.
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Anonymous:
I apologize for any miscommunication, and really didn't mean to upset or offend you. And you're right- I wrote in my initial post that the question was in regards to a first-person past tense narrative, but perhaps I should have said that the paragraph presented was exposition within a first-person story written in past tense. Thanks for trying to help, and have a nice day.
Please post the full surrounding context with your paragraph. I can't see that past perfect is required anyway.
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Anonymous:
Monday morning I arrived at English class early and began organizing my notes. Soon Jill entered the classroom and took her seat.

I had met Jill nearly twelve years earlier when I had been pushed into a foam tumbling pit on my first day of gymnastics class. While I struggled to get out, crying, she grabbed my hands and attempted to pull me out, but despite digging in her heels and pulling with all her might, eventually fell to join me in the pit. We spent the rest of the class burrowing tunnels in the foam blocks and talking about how mean our instructor was. Ally had joined our class the following week, and the three of us had been best friends ever since, although the dynamic between Ally and Jill could often be slightly les than friendly.

The bell signaling the start of English class rang, and I turned to Jill.

"Do you think you're ready for this test?"

*****If we don't use past perfect in this example, then when would we? Because after all, past perfect is meant to express the idea that something occurred before another action in the past. (The event of the narrator meeting Jill occurred twelve years before the events already being described in past tense.) Since the paragraph in question is exposition within a story being told in past tense, it seems like past perfect would be necessary.

Thanks for your help! Emotion: smile
Sorry to say, I don't see any reason to use past perfect here, though you may if you like, I suppose.

Past perfect has two functions:

(1) To clarify which of 2 past actions came first when it is otherwise unclear. For example:

I finished my breakfast before Jill arrived.-- No problem. 'Before' makes it clear which event happened first, so simple past for both verbs.

I finished my breakfast when Jill arrived.-- Uh oh! Did Jill see me eating or not? Therefore, past perfect is needed:

I had finished my breakfast when Jill arrived.

(2) To emphasize the completion of the first event before the 2nd event: I had completely finished breakfast before Jill arrived, and I had had time to wash the dishes, too!

Since '12 years earlier' clearly sets the meeting long before that 'Monday morning' and the rest of the narration follows in a natural or logical order, then past perfect is unnecessary unless for some reason you feel the need to stress the earlier occurrence of your meeting and friendships.
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