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    #1

    Time clauses with "before" and "until"

    Hello again,

    I have a question about how the past perfect tense and the simple past tense fit together in time clauses and specially as to when it is correct to use the simple past tense instead of past perfect in the main clause? Is the simple past tense used in more informal speech and past perfect more formally? Here are some examples with "until" and "before" introducing time clauses and I would like you to check it and give a brief comment as to its usage if possible:


    " Before I found this site I hadn't had much experience with the english language" or

    " Before i found this site I didn't have much experience with the english language"



    and how about with "until" :


    "I didn't have much experience with the english language until i found this site"

    "I hadn't had much experience with the english language until i found this site"


    Would it be correct to infer that the usage of the simple past tense as its shown above is correct only in some cases and only when the sequence of the actions in the main and the dependent sentence is obvious?

    And please would you check the sentence I've found in one test and tell me why the simple past tense is incorrect in this case :

    He hadn't wanted to live in the big city until he lived in San Francisko.

    why not " He didn't want .." too ?


    Best regards and again thanks for your help

  1. RonBee's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Time clauses with "before" and "until"

    I recommend:
    Before I found this site I hadn't had much experience with the English language.

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    #3

    Re: Time clauses with "before" and "until"

    Thanks RonBee,

    Are the other sentences also possible and can those be heard in spoken english too ?

    Thanks

  2. RonBee's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Time clauses with "before" and "until"

    I would say the others are less likely than my sentence. As for your other question (which I overlooked), the simple past is quite possible. Possibly:
    He didn't want to live in a big city, but after he had lived in San Francisco for a while he changed his mind.

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    #5

    Re: Time clauses with "before" and "until"

    Thank you very much for the clear answer RonBee

    Best regards

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