the past, the past perfect

Allegro molto

Senior Member

The word order suggests Adler’s attempt to balance loyalties: first King, then Israel (not yet reborn as a modern state), then Empire. Jewish allegiance to the crown had been questioned: Thousands of Yiddish-speaking East European Jews were not yet naturalized and so could not serve. In November 1915, The Jewish Chronicle reported examples of recruiting officers saying, "Lord Kitchener does not want any more Jews in the Army." But Jews clamored to prove their loyalty.
(from Known Unto God, FEB. 24, 2014, the New York Times)

Is 'had not yet been' wrong in the context in place of 'were not yet'?

Thank you
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    No, it's quite possible, but unnecessary. '(Not) yet' already conveys the sense of "up to this time", which is what a perfect tense contributes:

    It was not yet done. = It had not yet been done.

    We prefer to avoid the past perfect if the simple past works just as well.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    It is not wrong but the simple present formation of the passive (and the simple present indicative) allow more easily for a time phrase (in this case "yet") and indicate an on-going process. "were [not yet] naturalized" has a stronger nuance that the process was underway.

    (Crosspost with etb)
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