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    #1

    Before Mother bear could think of an answer, Goldilocks opened (had opened?)her eyes.

    Hello all.

    I am reading a collection of fairy tales and I found one sentences where I would like to know whether I could use past perfect instead of past simple. If possible, could you tell me the difference?

    1) Before Mother Bear could think of an answer, Goldilocks (had?)opened her eyes.

    I think past perfect is possible because a few lines below I found other sentence using past perfect.

    2) Before the Three Bears could say honey, Goldilocks had run downstairs and out through the front door.

    Is it just matter of emphasise I want to give?

    Thank you!

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Before Mother bear could think of an answer, Goldilocks opened (had opened?)her e

    In both sentences, the adverb "before" makes the past perfect unnecessary. But it is not wrong.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Before Mother bear could think of an answer, Goldilocks opened (had opened?)her e

    1) Before Mother Bear could think of an answer, Goldilocks (had?) opened her eyes.
    2) Before the Three Bears could say honey, Goldilocks
    had run downstairs and out through the front door.

    There's a difference. Goldilocks opens her eyes in front of the reader (in the narration of the story). She does not run downstairs and out through the front door in front of the reader. We are only told that it has happened. It's not narrated.
    If you filmed this faithfully, you would show Goldilocks' eyes opening. You would not have to show her running down the stairs and through the front door. It could be shown as Mother Bear seeing Goldilocks through the window running away.
    The same occurs with "Goldilocks opened her eyes" / "Goldilocks had opened her eyes". In the first, you see her opening her eyes. In the second, it's sufficient to see her with opened eyes.

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    #4

    Re: Before Mother bear could think of an answer, Goldilocks opened (had opened?)her e

    In other words in the sentence with Goldilocks opening her eyes ...there could be past perfect meaning a bit different thing as you described. It would be gram. correct but here it doesn't fit in this context, right?

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Before Mother bear could think of an answer, Goldilocks opened (had opened?)her e

    That's right.

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    #6

    Re: Before Mother bear could think of an answer, Goldilocks opened (had opened?)her e

    I know there is one very spicific (for me) use of past perfect.

    Something like: She was dead before the doctor had arrived.

    Could I do the same with the thread sentence?

    - Before Mother Bear had been able to think of an answer , Goldilocks opened.....

    ?

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    #7

    Re: Before Mother bear could think of an answer, Goldilocks opened (had opened?)her e

    Quote Originally Posted by Dominik92 View Post
    She was dead before the doctor had arrived.
    I think it could be followed by something like 'so he just put her into a body bag'.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #8

    Re: Before Mother bear could think of an answer, Goldilocks opened (had opened?)her e

    And what about the sentence: Before Mother Bear had been able to think of an answer, Goldilocks opened ...

    I would say it is possible to say - even in the context of the fairy tale. How do you feel about this sentence?

  5. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Before Mother bear could think of an answer, Goldilocks opened (had opened?)her e

    Quote Originally Posted by Dominik92 View Post
    Before Mother Bear had been able to think of an answer, Goldilocks opened ...
    I cannot think up a context where it can be used. Can you?
    I am not a teacher.

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    #10

    Re: Before Mother bear could think of an answer, Goldilocks opened (had opened?)her e

    I would say it could be used in the thread title.

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