Sentence Formation

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Which is correct:  The gold had been in the safe when she left the shop about 5pm on Thursday.   Or: The gold was in the safe when she left the shop about 5pm on Thursday.

asked Jun 06 '13 at 05:16 Jai New member

"Had Been" implies a focus on the duration of how long it was there. Since you are talking about a specific time, I would go with the latter.

TyJBrown13Jun 06 '13 at 05:48

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5 answers


1

I believe the second sentence is correct because we only have the one sentence to work with. We don't know anything else about what's going on.  So, the gold was in the safe at the time she left.

The first sentence could be okay, though, if it was in the middle of a story. For example, "She wondered what the heck was going on.  Had someone really managed to steal 72 heavy ingots in such a short period of time? All she knew was that the gold had been in the safe at the time she left. Where it was now is anybody's guess."

link answered Jun 06 '13 at 06:14 Naomi New member

Even in that scenario, I would use 'was.' The only time I would use 'had been' is if I was saying "The gold had been since she left the shop."

TyJBrown13Jun 06 '13 at 06:52

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0

The second sentence is correct.

link comment answered Jun 06 '13 at 05:18 Guida Brown New member
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"Had Been" implies a focus on the duration of how long it was there. Since you are talking about a specific time, I would go with the latter.

link comment answered Jun 06 '13 at 05:58 TyJBrown13 New member
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To add to and clarify what others have said, which I basically agree with, had been, the Past Perfect, is unnecessary with a time conjunction like when.  The basic purpose of the Past Perfect is to order past events, and the time conjunction when (just like after, as soon as, or once) already serves that function.  That is why The gold was in the safe when she left the shop about 5pm on Thursday is the most natural sentence.

link comment edited Jun 06 '13 at 17:04 Shawn Mooney Expert
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The 2nd sentence is correct. The first would work if you added a time qualification. eg. The gold had been in the safe for 6 hours when she left the shop at about 5pm on thursday.

link comment answered Jun 06 '13 at 21:00 Katejo New member

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