Past Perfect vs. Past Simple

danyoung2018

New Member
Hindi
I'm confused between the use of simple past and perfect past in the following situation.

A : Hi, I'm trying to reach John.
B: May I know who's calling?
A: I'm calling from Tim Smith's office at XYZ Inc.. He "asked" me to contact John and inform him about his meeting with XYZ Inc tomorrow.

But when we find that John is not available and are then asked the reason for our call, so does that change anything in our statement? Would it be or just SOUND better to use "had asked" instead of "asked" now?

A : Hi, I'm trying to reach John.
B : He just left for the day. May I know who is calling?
A: I'm calling from Tim Smith's office at XYZ Inc. He had asked me to contact John and inform him about his meeting with XYZ Inc tomorrow.
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    There is no reason to use the past perfect that I can see.

    The first sentence is set in the present and the second sentence describes one point of time in the past, when Tim Smith asked you to contact John. The past perfect is usually used where there are two points of time in the past and you need to make it clear that one occurred before the other. What the other person says is of no consequence in this case.

    Incidentally, "he" does not really have an antecedent. Neither "Tim Smith's office" nor "XYZ inc" can be a "he", and you should really say "Tim Smith" (or "Tim" or "Mr Smith").
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    But when we find that John is not available and are then asked the reason for our call, so does that change anything in our statement? Would it be or just SOUND better to use "had asked" instead of "asked" now?
    No. That changes nothing. (I agree with post #2)
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    If you did want to use a perfect tense, the present perfect would seem to make more sense. What the person is actually saying is:

    I’m calling on behalf of Tim Smith. He’s asked me to pass on a message to John.​
     
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