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  1. #1
    Verona_82 is offline Senior Member
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    Default crashed his bike before he'd finished paying for it

    Hello,

    I came across a senetence that made me rack my brain.

    He crashed his bike before he had finished paying for it.

    The car crash happened first, so why is the past perfect used to talk about the second action? Do we need the past perfect at all? IMO, "before" and "finished" make the chronological order absolutely clear.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: crashed his bike before he'd finished paying for it

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Verona:

    You have asked a question that confuses many of us ordinary native speakers, too.

    I found this explanation:

    "Sometimes the past perfect is used ... with before or an equivalent word, to indicate an action which

    should have preceded
    the action expressed in the main clause, but did not actually do so:

    The manager came before I had read the report."

    Source: Walter Kay Smart, English Review Grammar (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1953), p. 170.

  3. #3
    Verona_82 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: crashed his bike before he'd finished paying for it

    Thank you, the Parser.
    Will the sentence sound ok if I write:

    He had crushed his bike before he finished paying for it.


  4. #4
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: crashed his bike before he'd finished paying for it

    Thank you for your kind note. We non-teachers are warned NOT to answer unless we are reasonably confident of our answers.

    So I shall wait along with you for a teacher to answer your excellent question.

    HAVE A NICE DAY!

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: crashed his bike before he'd finished paying for it

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Thank you, the Parser.
    Will the sentence sound ok if I write:

    He had crushed his bike before he finished paying for it.

    It's possible, but it doesn't sound very natural to me.

  6. #6
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: crashed his bike before he'd finished paying for it

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Thank you, the Parser.
    Will the sentence sound ok if I write:

    He had crushed his bike before he finished paying for it.

    I assume you still mean "crashed", not "crushed".

  7. #7
    Verona_82 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: crashed his bike before he'd finished paying for it

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I assume you still mean "crashed", not "crushed".
    Oh... 'crashed', of course

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