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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.
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Comments  (Page 3) 
Sorry for moving off the topic. I was interested in asking that if suppose there is only one event which happened in the past, then will we use past perfect tense or simple past tense ?

Consider the example -
When did you do you homework ?
I had done it the previous Friday OR I did it the previous Friday.
Which tense is correct in the above example ?
ortonRConsider the example - When did you do you homework ?I had done it the previous Friday OR I did it the previous Friday. Which tense is correct in the above example ?
You have complicated the issue by saying 'the previous Friday'. This suggests that the Friday in question is previous to a later past time. This makes the past perfect possible.

However, the normal and natural response to "When did you do ..." would be "I did ...".
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Sir, could you tell me the difference between the sentence -
I had turned off the lights at 10:30
I turned off the lights at 10:30
Also please tell when are these two sentence used ?

Thank You
ortonRI had turned off the lights at 10:30I turned off the lights at 10:30
The first means that the speaker turned off the lights at some time before 10.30.
The second means that the speaker turned the lights off after 10.29 and before 10.31.
CalifJim That's irrelevant. We can change it to include more context, if you want, but it doesn't change the rule.Mike has turned off the lights at 10:30. (Wrong.)Mike left home at 10:35. He had turned off the lights at 10:30. (OK)CJ
Yes I agree with you that we cannot use present perfect tense if the time frame is mentioned.
But I want to ask that if suppose there is only one event which happened in the past, then will we use past perfect tense or simple past tense ?

Thanks
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Sir, could you give me a context in which the sentence "I had turned off the lights at 10:30." fits correct ?
ortonRSir, could you give me a context in which the sentence "I had turned off the lights at 10:30." fits correct ?
CJ has already done so (if you change 'Mike' and 'he' to 'I'.): Mike left home at 10:35. He had turned off the lights at 10:30.
ortonRsuppose there is only one event which happened in the past
Use the simple past when it is a matter of one event. The past perfect indicates the first of two or more actions in the past.

You may find these two posts informative.

Past / Past perfect
"They came/had come by plane, but they were..."

CJ
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