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    • Join Date: Sep 2006
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    Fill-in-the-gap sentence

    Hello, I was wondering whether you could help me with the following sentence.
    In the following fill-in-the-gap exercise: "Earlier in the year, many employees ... (start) to take extra work home, but when they heard about the pay cuts, they stopped doing this." The answer key only gives me "started" as the correct answer, but surely "had started" is correct too, right?

  1. buggles's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
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    • Join Date: Aug 2007
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    Re: Fill-in-the-gap sentence

    As a native English speaker, I would be more likely to use had started.
    Both are acceptable and correct, but had started sounds better in this sentence.

    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409

    Re: Fill-in-the-gap sentence

    The problem/determinant here is "earlier in the year" which has the sense of 'at some point earlier this year', and it was at that point that they 'started' to take home...

    Unbeknownst to management, staff had started to ...but when they heard...they stopped.

    To use a single time-related phrase that lends itself to following on with the "had started' tense, the phrase would need to suggest that the 'taking home' had occurred over a period of time...

    and for the life of me (maybe I've got a 3 am mental block), I can't think of a natural-sounding one!
    Can someone else help?

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