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  1. Harry Smith's Avatar
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    #1

    Which sentence is correct?

    1. I shut the window before the bird had flown in the room.
    2. I shut the window before the bird flew in the room.
    3. I had shut the window before the bird flew in the room.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Which sentence is correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Smith View Post
    1. I shut the window before the bird had flown in the room.
    2. I shut the window before the bird flew in the room.
    3. I had shut the window before the bird flew in the room.
    None of them make sense, unless the bird flew into the room from some other point.

  3. Harry Smith's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Which sentence is correct?

    How could you say it? Will you give a correct version?

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Which sentence is correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Smith View Post
    How could you say it? Will you give a correct version?
    1. Before I shut the window, the bird flew into the room.
    2. Before I shut the window, the bird had flown into the room.

    We use the past perfect (#2) to describe a past event that occurred before another past event. However, the word "before" also establishes the sequence of events, making the past perfect optional (#1).

  5. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Which sentence is correct?

    I shut the window before the bird could fly into the room.

    I disagree slightly with Mike. I think a native speaker might well say #2 (with into rather then in) with the understood sense of my version.

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    #6

    Re: Which sentence is correct?

    Harry, you have been a member long enough to know that a better title would have been 'I shut the window...'.

    'Thread titles should include all or part of the word/phrase being discussed.'

  6. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Which sentence is correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    I shut the window before the bird could fly into the room.

    I disagree slightly with Mike. I think a native speaker might well say #2 (with into rather then in) with the understood sense of my version.
    Your version with "could" is far better. In that sentence, the bird did not fly into the room.

  7. Harry Smith's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Which sentence is correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    Harry, you have been a member long enough to know that a better title would have been 'I shut the window...'.

    'Thread titles should include all or part of the word/phrase being discussed.'
    Ok! I'll try to keep the rule next time.

  8. 5jj's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Which sentence is correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    Your version with "could" is far better. In that sentence, the bird did not fly into the room.
    I agree. I don't think a careful writer would be happy with "I shut the window before the bird flew in the room". However, I think you'll hear this sort of thing in speech, and few will consider it odd.
    Last edited by 5jj; 20-Dec-2013 at 14:41.

  9. Harry Smith's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Which sentence is correct?

    What would you say to these sentences?:

    Even before I had reached the counter, the angry voices of two women came to my ears.
    But before I had finished this wearisome task, the cheque arrived out of the blue.
    Then before I had gone a few yards I felt a tug on my back.
    Before I had heard a dozen words, I was trembling with fear.

    They are taken from British National Corpus... I hope the form
    ... before something had happened... is familiar to you.

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