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  1. #1

    Simple past and Past Perfect

    I have two sentences:
    He locked the door.
    He went out for dinner.
    Which tense we should use to connect them?
    He locked the door and went out for dinner
    Or: He had locked the door before going out for dinner.
    Tell me which one is better? and the meaning of each one?
    Tks

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Neither one is necessarily better, but we would normally use simple past there. There is, absent context, no reason to use past perfect there.

    :)

  3. #3
    "Neither one is necessarily better." I haven't caught your idea
    I will put my sentence in a situation like that: My house has been stolen and I want to insist to everybody that I locked the door before going out. Whether I should use the past perfect tense?
    " I had locked the door before going out for dinner"
    :)
    Oh, by the way, what is an absent context?

  4. #4
    moonlite Guest
    How about this.

    He locked the door before (he) went out for dinner.

    Sounds more natural.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by moonlite
    How about this.

    He locked the door before (he) went out for dinner.

    Sounds more natural.
    Hi,
    As I know, "before" is a prep and be followed by a noun or a gerund. So I don't think we should omit the subject (He). How about you?

  6. #6
    moonlite Guest
    I am no teacher. But what you say sounds ok to me. However, in general conversations, that sentence is often heard.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    I agree with Solace- it should be 'before going' or 'before he went'.

  8. #8
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by solace
    "Neither one is necessarily better." I haven't caught your idea
    I will put my sentence in a situation like that: My house has been stolen and I want to insist to everybody that I locked the door before going out. Whether I should use the past perfect tense?
    " I had locked the door before going out for dinner"
    :)
    Oh, by the way, what is an absent context?
    If I say "Neither one is necessarily better" then I mean that there is no reason to believe that one is better than the other.

    In your example I would use the simple past. It is not necessary to use the past perfect. (I assume that you meant that your house had been burgled.)

    Context is the surrounding sentences--the sentences that come before and after a sentence.

    :)

  9. #9
    Now, I do understand. Thanks :)
    Another question: Which cases should we use past perfect tense?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by moonlite
    I am no teacher. But what you say sounds ok to me. However, in general conversations, that sentence is often heard.
    Hi,
    If you say so, everybody can understand you. However I think it is not a standard English.
    Anyway, such utterance will be accepted in verbal communication:)

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