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The blast occurred as locals were on their way to market near Vadamunai, a village about 70km (45 miles) north-west of the town of Batticaloa.

The rebels have blamed the military for the explosion. A military spokesman denied the allegation.
The deaths come a day before rebels and government are to discuss security for truce monitors. Two months of violence have claimed more than 300 lives.
Doctors travelling with an International Committee of the Red Cross escort evacuated some of the injured from rebel-held territory.

Dr S Dakshinamoorthy, senior health officer in Batticaloa district, told the BBC they had received nine of the injured, two of whom had later died en route to hospital.

The other seven were now receiving treatment in Batticaloa. "Among the injured one of them is in a serious condition," he said.

The doctor said villagers had told him a three-month-old girl had escaped with minor injuries in the blast, but her mother had been killed.

Rebel spokesman Daya Master said the security forces had planted the mine.

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1. ... they had received nine of the injured

2. ... The doctor said villagers had told him a three-month old girl had escaped with minor injuries in the blast

3. ... security forces had planted the mine

4. ... two of whom had later died en route to hospital.

All those underlined words are the past perfect tense constructions.

I have changed them into the simple past tense. Please read the following:

5. ... they received nine of the injured

6. ... The doctor said the villagers told him a three-month old girl escaped with minor injuries in the blast

7. ... security forces planted the mine

8. ... two of whom later died en route to hospital.

Is it necessary to write the past perfect tense here? Could you write the simple past tense as I suggested?
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Comments  
I am surprised; because nobody answered my question.
all the reported events here occured before the time of reporting/saying
thus the usage of past perfect is correct and recommended
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«all the reported events here occured before the time of reporting/saying
thus the usage of past perfect is correct»

Rotter asked whether Past Simple would be correct or not, and whether (and how) the meaning would change.

My opinion is that Past Simple would make the sentences very weird, but maybe still correct.

Clive's become a specialist at such Past Simple — Past Perfect questions. Hope, he answers.
Thanks Ant_222 for the reply.

I think Clive is on holiday. He doesn't answer qustiones for the moment. I hope he will look at this when he returns to the forum.
Rotter,

The reason for using past perfect tense is to illustrate the event(s) occurred in the past with more time reference. The during of the event decides whether it requires a simple past pr past perfect tense. e.g. It rained yesterady -finished vs. It had rained for the weeks in March and I was tired of it! Most of the time in spoken People won’t pay a whole lot of attention to the correctness of grammar and and time reference so even a simple past tense can still get the idea across. But in written English, especially in reports and chronologically sensitive articles, past perfect tense is often required to depict the time window in which something happened. If you went to on a vacation last month and you told you friend about your trip last week, then you would say “When I went to , I had spent a few days in to join up with a few friends. For the next few days, we had taken the train and visited a few towns along tthe way to .

Does this illustration help?
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Thanks Goodman for the reply. It was a good illustration. So if you went to another country for a holiday last week or last month, today you would use the past perfect to describe the proceedings.

“When I went to Italy, I had spent a few days in Venice to join up with a few friends. "

Wouldn't you write the above in the simple past tense?

“When I went to Italy, I spent a few days in Venice to join up with a few friends.

Is it not common to use the past perfect among rank and file when speaking?
As I said in the previous post, in daily conversation, people would pay little attention to perfect grammar. My feeling is, yes – a simple past tense is acceptable. Having said that, in spoken English, the sound of “had” is abbreviated to “’d” and therefore sounds like it’s not there. But in reality, it is. For example:

I’d spent a few days in while I was in .

I’d studied French for 2 semesters during my college years.
Hi guys,

I'm not on holiday, I just had to go to work today. The pay for answering questions about the Past Perfect on the Forum is not enough to cover my cost of living.

The Past Simple could be used in the original article, but the Past Perfect is also correct and it's better. It makes the time sequence clearer, it requires a little less thought from the reader, and it sounds more natural and idiomatic.

As a broad generalization, whenever you, as a learner, find a native speaker using the Past Perfect, I would say he's using it for a good reason. Native speakers do make errors, but usually unsuitable use of the Past Perfect is not one of them.

Goodman, if you tell your friend about your trip last month, you'd just naturally say

“When I went to Italy, I spent a few days in Venice to join up with a few friends. For the next few days, we took the train and visited a few towns along the way to Florence."

You're just talking about the past in a simple and sequential way. There's no need for Past Perfect.

If anyone has any further questions about this explanation, please write again. Just attach a cheque to your post, so that I won't have to go to work. (ha-ha)

Best wishes, Clive
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