GRAMMAR: Is the Pluperfect Tense Endangered?

Is the pluperfect tense endangered?  I fear so.  More and more I notice the simple past replacing it.  Now, the past tense
is relatively easy, but some people do not know how to handle an event that occurred before a past event.  I hope that these people do not believe all past actions happened yesterday and really do understand that stuff may have happened the day before yesterday — perhaps even the day before the day before yesterday.  Good grammar at least indicates that one knows these realities in life.

In the example below (which happens also to be in the subjunctive mood, but that’s another matter), the correct verb is
“had never occurred.”

EXAMPLE: “As indicated by the Heisman Pundit, eight quarterbacks are currently ahead of Miller in the race. This is understandable after Miller missed nearly three full games in September with an MCL injury. If the injury never occurred, perhaps momentum could have carried Miller to New York even without gaudy numbers.”   ( See

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About thet7200

David Milliken has been a life-long, incurable English Major currently serving as Marketing VP for and, a provider of registered agents, incorporation services and LLC's and trademarks. Prior to that he was a professional chamber of commerce executive for chambers in Ohio, New York and Kansas. Other work includes community college PR, brick sales and community/economic development He is a graduate of The Ohio State University and Idaho State University(M.A.) He attended Kansas State University for more English studies. He has not been a butcher, baker nor candlestick maker, but he has taught English and run for political office. David Milliken is an author aspiring to become a published one.

2 thoughts on “GRAMMAR: Is the Pluperfect Tense Endangered?

  1. Does good grammar indicate that we know life’s realities? Or does it dictate the way we perceive reality and keep it at arm’s length? The Polish princess has brain cancer. That tends to obliterate past and future.

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