Simple past Vs. Past perfect Tense?

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Anonymous:
Hi,

I was wondering if someone can explain to me the difference between simple past and past perfect tense. When would you use one vs the other? For example, When would you say...

I had sent out an email yesterday

and..

I sent out an email yesterday

When would you have to use past perfect?

Thanks.
Approved answer (verified by )
Almost never, and certainly not in your example. Use past perfect when there are two past events in the same statement, and it is not clear which one came first, and you wish to clarify that relationship. http://web2.uvcs.uvic.ca/elc/studyzone/410/grammar/pastpf.htm is a bit more on the same.
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Approved answer (verified by )
When telling the story of something that happened in the past, you may want to refer back to situations which were in effect before the time the story happened. In that case you use the past perfect. Without establishing the past point of view there's no need for the past perfect tense.

You would have to use the past perfect in reporting the present perfect, thus:

Direct quote: "I have sent an e-mail".
As reported later: I said that I had sent an e-mail.

Similarly,

Dialog:
-- I'm waiting for a response.
-- A response?
-- Yes. I sent an e-mail yesterday, and now I'm waiting for a response.


As reported later: I was waiting for a response to the e-mail I had sent the day before.

(I was waiting establishes the past point of view. had sent is the past of that past, so to speak. It is even 'more past' than the past.)

CJ
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ALL REPLIES
I had sent out an email yesterday. (incorrect)

When time is stated, you need to use the Simple Past Tense.

Other examples:

I woke up late yesterday.

I was late for school last Monday.

After I had sent an email to my friend yesterday, I received a reply from him soon after.

The phrase 'had sent' emphasises that the sending of the email occurred first. The reply from your friend came later.

I hope this helps.
Veteran Member8,073
I think the last example is still correct without 'had', though, it is clearer with 'had'. This is because 'after' provides information on event sequence.

After I sent an email to my friend yesterday, I received a reply from him soon after.

Am I right?
Veteran Member7,658
New2grammar
I think the last example is still correct without 'had', though, it is clearer with 'had'. This is because 'after' provides information on event sequence.

After I sent an email to my friend yesterday, I received a reply from him soon after.

Am I right?

You're right. The past perfect tense is used only for emphasising the first action.

After I ate my lunch, I went out.

After I had eaten my lunch, I went out.

Both sentences have the same meaning, that is, the same actions and the same sequence are involved.
Anonymous:
hi , I can help you

I will explaine to you .....

For exemple there are too action ( too verbs) always you put the first action in past perfect & the second action in the past EXEMPLE: I had met my wife ,i married her.( you hav to meet befor to marry, you can not marry and after you meet)

I hope you understand

r2VwK
Anonymous:
We use Simple Past if we give past events in the order in which they occured. However, when we look back from a certain time in the past to tell what had happened before, we use Past Perfect. In addition, as what my professor told us before, when we use the past perfect tense of the verb we should not indicate the time expression.

-don
Anonymous:
i had eaten apple in the morning ...is it correct
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