Hello! Reading “Joanna” in the June 2015’s issue, I noticed this sentence: “he was shy with women and tired of embarrassing silences, so he had almost given up on finding his Mrs. Well, I can’t understand why you didn’t just say “…so he almost gave up on finding his Mrs. I think it’s not the correct way to use the past perfect because there are not two actions, one happened before the other. I have another doubt, a bit later, on the same item, you wrote “as he was eating his microwave meal for one and..”I don’t understand what “for one” means in that context. Thanks for the attention. Alessandro

Here’s author Nicola Mabbott’s answer:

“Had given up” is used here to imply that things were about to change (after giving up, i.e. the time of the story), and also because the decision to give up was taken before the story began (and the story is already in the past), so past perfect is correct.  ” …so he almost gave up” would imply that he hadn’t (ever) really given up, which is grammatically correct, of course, but not what I intended.

“For one” means for one person.  Meals for one person (usually done in the microwave) are quite common here in the UK with single people.  

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