+0
Hi. I was reading some daily news and came across this article. Here is an excerpt from the article:

Police officers met Dana Farrell Shelton after being called to investigate a disturbance at a bar on Sunday but had found no problems and told him to move along.

Shelton, who officers said appeared intoxicated, then called 911 to report he was "surrounded by Largo police," according to an arrest affidavit.

I understand that the author used the past perfect "had found" to indicate that their founding no problems with the man came earlier than his calling 911. I was just wondering why they didn't use the past perfect for the verb "met." Is it because the police met with the man again after he called 911? Would it be wrong if the sentence said "Police officers had met Dana Farrell Shelton ~."

Thank you
+0
Would it be wrong if the sentence said "Police officers had met Dana Farrell Shelton ~."
No, but I think it would have been better not to use the past perfect at all.

Police officers met ... after being called ... Sunday, but found no problems and told him ...

CJ

PS. finding, not founding. Emotion: smile
Comments  
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Hi,

I think this is what is happening eventhough I might not be an authoritative source on this.

Newspapers are written to inform and with that purpose in mind, the people involved in reporting events do their best to write articles in consideration of space, aesthetic appeal?, and other factors.

If he were to write the article all in past tenses, it would make the article seem too mundane and stylistically static with not much variations; and that may make a reader lose his stream of thought and result in a situation where he might bet in need of a break due to seeing a continuous stream of past tenses. My guess is that the past perfect was used to circumvent that possible situation. for the benefit of making his reading more attention-sustaining.

Having said that, it would have been better if written: ...but found he had done nothing wrong and told him to ...

My question: I did some searches on Google and found these similar patterns. I had to jot them down on a piece of paper and rewrite them here. Hope you will allow me for any inadvertant transcription errors, not that I think there are any. What is the difference?

1. I did some reseach on Freeh and found he has done ...

2. I contacted Dr. Kawachi at City of Hope and found he had done ...
1. (Context: my research) I found he has done ... shows current relevance for my research; suggests I may use this information sooner or later. had done (i.e., the backshifted version) would have been fine as well.
2. (Context: I met with someone) I found he had done ... (backshifted version); shows that he had completed this work before I met with him. The writer did not wish to suggest current relevance in this case.

These are quite similar to the following pair involving indirect speech:

I said that she has accomplished a great deal.
I said that she had accomplished a great deal.


Backshifting is the norm. It is never wrong to backshift.
But backshifting is hardly ever required.
Not backshifting means the statement has current relevance or is still true (The professor remarked that Columbus is the discoverer of America.) or is timelessly true (The teacher taught us that an equilateral triangle has three equal sides.)

CJ