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Doesn’t anybody know how to use the past perfect any more?

(I’m reading slush these days, along with everything else.  All aspiring writers should do some slush reading if they get the chance.  It’s an enlightening experience, and far more entertaining than, say, grading freshman essays, which I’ve also done in my time.  Even the worst slush in the world was written by somebody who actively wanted to be putting words on paper, or pixels on screen; even the very best freshman essays, on the other hand, have a certain forced, gun-to-the-temple quality about them.  Also, when you’re reading slush, once you get to the point where you’re convinced that a piece is hopeless, you can stop.  With freshman essays, there’s no such release.)