Which sentence is correct?

Harry Smith

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1. I shut the window before the bird had flown in the room.
2. I shut the window before the bird flew in the room.
3. I had shut the window before the bird flew in the room.
 

MikeNewYork

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1. I shut the window before the bird had flown in the room.
2. I shut the window before the bird flew in the room.
3. I had shut the window before the bird flew in the room.

None of them make sense, unless the bird flew into the room from some other point.
 

Harry Smith

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How could you say it? Will you give a correct version?
 

MikeNewYork

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How could you say it? Will you give a correct version?

1. Before I shut the window, the bird flew into the room.
2. Before I shut the window, the bird had flown into the room.

We use the past perfect (#2) to describe a past event that occurred before another past event. However, the word "before" also establishes the sequence of events, making the past perfect optional (#1).
 

5jj

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I shut the window before the bird could fly into the room.

I disagree slightly with Mike. I think a native speaker might well say #2 (with into rather then in) with the understood sense of my version.
 

Rover_KE

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Harry, you have been a member long enough to know that a better title would have been 'I shut the window...'.

'Thread titles should include all or part of the word/phrase being discussed.'
 

MikeNewYork

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I shut the window before the bird could fly into the room.

I disagree slightly with Mike. I think a native speaker might well say #2 (with into rather then in) with the understood sense of my version.

Your version with "could" is far better. In that sentence, the bird did not fly into the room.
 

Harry Smith

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Harry, you have been a member long enough to know that a better title would have been 'I shut the window...'.

'Thread titles should include all or part of the word/phrase being discussed.'

Ok! I'll try to keep the rule next time.
 

5jj

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Your version with "could" is far better. In that sentence, the bird did not fly into the room.
I agree. I don't think a careful writer would be happy with "I shut the window before the bird flew in the room". However, I think you'll hear this sort of thing in speech, and few will consider it odd.
 
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Harry Smith

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What would you say to these sentences?:

Even before I had reached the counter, the angry voices of two women came to my ears.
But before I had finished this wearisome task, the cheque arrived out of the blue.
Then before I had gone a few yards I felt a tug on my back.
Before I had heard a dozen words, I was trembling with fear.

They are taken from British National Corpus... I hope the form
... before something had happened... is familiar to you.
 

emsr2d2

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What would you say to these sentences?:

Even before I had reached the counter, the angry voices of two women came to my ears.
But before I had finished this wearisome task, the cheque arrived out of the blue.
Then before I had gone a few yards I felt a tug on my back.
Before I had heard a dozen words, I was trembling with fear.

They are taken from British National Corpus...

They are all fine.
 

Harry Smith

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They are all fine.

And why is this sentence" I shut the window before the bird had flown into the room." a little bit strange for a native English speaker? Have a look at above posts.
 

emsr2d2

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And why is this sentence" I shut the window before the bird had flown into the room." a little bit strange for a native English speaker? Have a look at above posts.

Because the other posts give information about something that happened before something else happened. That is not the case with the sentence about the bird. The bird didn't fly into the room. If you had already shut the window, it was impossible for the bird to fly into the room.

5jj's suggestion "I shut the window before the bird could fly into the room" means "I shut the window in order to avoid the bird flying into the room".

"I shut the window before the bird flew into the room" could suggest that the bird did fly into the room but that it entered by some other portal. Perhaps it flew in through the door.

If, for some reason, you must use your sentence, you would have to say "I had shut the window before the bird flew into the room".
 
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