5Revising the Past Perfect, I got mixed up by a couple of examples in my CPE book:
(1) Before he read the letter he took a deep breath (NOT HAD TAKEN)
(2) After he had done the washing up, he collapsed in a chair (NOT DID)
(3) When we had galloped up the stairs, we discovered that the window had been broken (NOT GALLOPED)
I cannot get a handle on the use of conjunctions with the Past Perfect.
1. The person took a breath before he read the letter, why can't I say "had taken"? You can, but it somehow seems to make the taking of the deep breath a major act.
2. the person first did the laundry and then collapsed in a chair; isn't this "had done" redundant here? The actions are listed in their chronological order, so why the Past Perfect? Both are possible.
3. Again, they galloped up the stairs and then did the next action. The action order isn't reversed. Is saying "when we galloped.... we discovered" such a dreadful mistake? It's not a dreadful mistake, but it could just about mean that we discovered the broken window while we were galloping. We tend to be fairly flexible about the use of past simple and past perfect with 'before' and 'after', where the conjunctions themselves make the order of the actions clear. We tend to be more precise with 'when'.!