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Scenario:

I see a co-worker for the first time in the break room at my new job, and by this time, I have met most of my co-workers, and I say to him: "I had not seen you before. I am....."

Given the situation, would I be grammatically and pragmatically correct to use the past perfect as used in the above situation? Please let me know.

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apatzinguense

Scenario:

I see a co-worker for the first time in the break room at my new job, and by this time, I have met most of my co-workers, and I say to him: "I had not seen you before. I am....."

Given the situation, would I be grammatically and pragmatically correct to use the past perfect as used in the above situation? Please let me know.

Grammatically correct, but not pragmatically.

You want I haven't seen you before.

CJ

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No. Natural English ls I haven't seen you before. I'm Fred Smith.

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Comments  

...but not pragmatically.

Why is that? Could you please elaborate?

There's no anchor point in the past that you can hang your statement on.

The past perfect is a dependent tense. It depends on something in the conversation that it can stand before. There wasn't any conversation at all before this, so that anchor point doesn't exist.

CJ

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 Clive's reply was promoted to an answer.

"There's no anchor point in the past that you can hang your statement on."

Well, at one point in the past I met my new co-workers. This specific person was not around between when I first started working at my new job and the moment I met him. Am I correct in my analysis?

Good question. Take a look at your description. I've changed it to show you where 'had' would work better.

I see a co-worker for the first time in the break room at my new job, and by this time, I had met most of my co-workers, and I say to him: "I have not seen you before. I am....."

Order of events:

1) You met most of your co-workers.
2) You saw/met a new co-worker.

So 1) you had met them, and then 2) you met the new one.

1) came before 2), so the proper tenses are 1) had met and 2) have not seen.

Also note that there is a time gap between meeting most of the others and present time, but there is no time gap between the period of not seeing the new co-worker and present time. That also leads to 1) past perfect and 2) present perfect.

CJ

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