past perfect for past

john at john at
Tue Aug 10 20:09:58 UTC 2010

About 25 years ago I noticed this sort of this in the usage of speakers of Black
English. On closer analysis, I found that it was used particularly for completed
actions at the beginning of narrative sequences, e.g. starting a personal
story with 'I'd gone to New York last weekend and I saw my cousin and he told
me...'. It wasn't used for past tenses in general, just in that context.

Quoting "Moore, John" <moorej at>:

> I heard someone claim that younger speakers of American English will use the
> past perfect ('I'd gone') instead of the simple past ('I went') in colloquial
> speech.  Has anyone heard of this, and if so, does anyone know of any
> literature n it?
> thanks, John

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