Results 1 to 8 of 8
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Portuguese
      • Home Country:
      • Portugal
      • Current Location:
      • Portugal

    • Join Date: Dec 2013
    • Posts: 35
    #1

    Past Perfect vs Past Simple

    Hi!

    Here you have my most recent doubt:

    "My sister had finished brushing her teeth before she went out with her friends."

    Have the tenses been properly used in the sentence above, or should we change their order by starting with the simple past and using the past perfect afterwards?

    Many thanks!

    Liz

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Ireland

    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 25,604
    #2

    Re: Past Perfect vs Past Simple

    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Liz View Post
    Hi!

    Here you have my most recent doubt:

    "My sister had finished brushing her teeth before she went out with her friends."

    Have the tenses been properly used in the sentence above, or should we change their order by starting with the simple past and using the past perfect afterwards?

    Many thanks!

    Liz
    It would be more natural to say "My sister brushed her teeth before she went out with her friends".

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Portuguese
      • Home Country:
      • Portugal
      • Current Location:
      • Portugal

    • Join Date: Dec 2013
    • Posts: 35
    #3

    Re: Past Perfect vs Past Simple

    What if I say "He finished reading the novel before he had gone to the disco."? (This is an exercise from an English test!)

    Thanks!!!

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Ireland

    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 25,604
    #4

    Re: Past Perfect vs Past Simple

    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Liz View Post
    What if I say "He finished reading the novel before he had gone to the disco."? (This is an exercise from an English test!)

    Thanks!!!
    That's not a natural sentence.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Portuguese
      • Home Country:
      • Portugal
      • Current Location:
      • Portugal

    • Join Date: Dec 2013
    • Posts: 35
    #5

    Re: Past Perfect vs Past Simple

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    That's not a natural sentence.
    Can't understand why some teachers just turn things out difficult! Thank you, bhai!

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,983
    #6

    Re: Past Perfect vs Past Simple

    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Liz View Post
    What if I say "He finished reading the novel before he had gone to the disco."? (This is an exercise from an English test!)

    Thanks!!!
    If one wishes to use the past perfect in that sentence, one would say, "He had finished reading the novel before he went to the disco." The past perfect is used for the earlier action. However, because the adverb "before" indicates that timing of the events, the past perfect is not needed.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Romanian
      • Home Country:
      • Romania
      • Current Location:
      • Romania

    • Join Date: Jan 2014
    • Posts: 62
    #7

    Re: Past Perfect vs Past Simple

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    If one wishes to use the past perfect in that sentence, one would say, "He had finished reading the novel before he went to the disco." The past perfect is used for the earlier action. However, because the adverb "before" indicates that timing of the events, the past perfect is not needed.
    All the grammar books that I've read suggested that in the above pattern Past Perfect should be used in the earlier action (as you said) followed by "before" + Past Tense. Should I understand now that this is not natural and should be avoided even in writing?
    Thank you.

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,983
    #8

    Re: Past Perfect vs Past Simple

    Quote Originally Posted by mihallure View Post
    All the grammar books that I've read suggested that in the above pattern Past Perfect should be used in the earlier action (as you said) followed by "before" + Past Tense. Should I understand now that this is not natural and should be avoided even in writing?
    Thank you.
    No, it is quite natural and is also correct. I am just saying that one can get away with the past tense in both uses because of the word "before". In an examination, I would use the past perfect.

Similar Threads

  1. Passive, Simple past, Past perfect (Grammar Question)
    By haumran in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-Jun-2013, 08:13
  2. [Grammar] Past simple, past continuous and past perfect
    By fuadha in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 18-Aug-2009, 12:17
  3. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-Mar-2008, 01:46
  4. Replies: 7
    Last Post: 21-Nov-2007, 05:15
  5. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 18-Apr-2006, 17:18

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •