Don't dwell on what had/have happened.

The Final Spell

Senior Member
Norwegian
GREETINGS TO EVERYONE.

Megan: What should I do ? So many documents !
Sarah: Don't worry. We'll manage somehow.
Megan: I must find a way, or I will ruin the whole thing. But I doubt whether I can put it right. I am afraid that our clients have checked the emails and will complain about that.
Sarah: Don't dwell on what had happened. What we should do is to make the best of a bad job.

I don't get it why Sarah uses past perfect here.
And what would be the differences if Sarah says: Don't dwell on what have happened. or Don't dwell on what happened?
 
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  • Merrit

    Senior Member
    English
    In my opinion "what has happened" is on thin ice -- I can't see a good reason for using it -- I think "what happened" is best.

    m
     

    inib

    Senior Member
    British English
    In my opinion "what has happened" is on thin ice -- I can't see a good reason for using it -- I think "what happened" is best.

    m
    But it's certainly better than "what have happened.";)
    To be honest, although we have an excerpt, I couldn't get enough context to be totally sure about one alternative or another.
     

    Merrit

    Senior Member
    English
    To be honest, although we have an excerpt, I couldn't get enough context to be totally sure about one alternative or another.
    It was exactly the absence of any context to justify it, that made me dubious about "what has happened".

    "what have happened" is just plain wrong. The verb must be in the 3rd person, and "have" is not.

    m
     
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