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    #1

    Before he went to England he read tons of guide books.

    In an online grammar test one of the questions were:
    Before he went to England he read/had read tons of guide books.
    The right answer, according to the key, is "had read" because past perfect should be used for a completed action.
    But to me it also sounds good to use "read" for example if we think of it in the context of a habit
    Before he went to England he read/had read tons of guide books(as he always did).

    So is "read" really wrong?

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    #2

    Re: Before he went to England he read tons of guide books.

    No, it's not. I prefer it.

    I'd be suspicious of any grammar test that included the hyperbolic 'tons' of guide books.

    Rover

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Before he went to England he read tons of guide books.

    Quote Originally Posted by dansynek View Post
    In an online grammar test one of the questions werewas:

    Before he went to England he read/had read tons of guide books.

    The right answer, according to the key, is "had read" because past perfect should be used for a completed action.
    But to me it also sounds good to use "read", for example, if we think of it in the context of a habit.
    Before he went to England he read/had read tons of guide books (as he always did).

    So is "read" really wrong?
    I agree with you that "read" (simple past) should be the correct answer. I don't agree with your reasoning behind it though. It has nothing to do with it being a habit. It might have been the first time he had ever been on holiday. It might have been the first time he had ever read any guidebook at all. Nonetheless, "Before he went to England, he read lots of guidebooks" is absolutely fine.

    I would check whether your online grammar test was written by a native speaker or not. I agree with Rover that the use of "tons of" is not appropriate in an English language test.

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    #4

    Re: Before he went to England he read tons of guide books.

    You can find the test by googling ego4u mix-4 (I am not allowed to include a link).
    I answered "read" just on feeling. The habit example was just a way I tried to rationalize why "read" could also be correct. I have googled around a bit since then and this seems to be an instance when grammarians are not in agreement with actual use.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Before he went to England he read tons of guide books.

    Quote Originally Posted by dansynek View Post
    I have googled around a bit since then and this seems to be an instance when grammarians are not in agreement with actual use.
    A lot of people writing about grammar on the internet have not really studied the grammar of the language in depth. Some writers of grammar books for learners have an unfortunate tendency to over-simplify things in an attempt to help the learners.

    I don't think you will find many serious descriptive grammarians who would disagree with Rover or ems.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Before he went to England he read tons of guide books.

    Quote Originally Posted by dansynek View Post
    You can find the test by googling ego4u mix-4 (I am not allowed to include a link).
    I answered "read" just on feeling. The habit example was just a way I tried to rationalize why "read" could also be correct. I have googled around a bit since then and this seems to be an instance when grammarians are not in agreement with actual use.
    I think the basic error made by such sites is implying that if you have two events occurring in the past, one before the other, you have to use the past perfect for the earlier event. That's wrong. You need more than that.

    However, if you could post a few of those sites, we could confirm whether this is in fact the error they are making.

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