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Person A: Did they eventually sign to a booking agency?
Person B: Yes, but after I had stopped managing them

I just would like to know if past simple would be possible and is past perfect here to explain that the band sign to a booking agency because but they did not have a manager to establish a strong link between them

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    You sre correct. The past perfect is not really needed here. The past simple does the job. – P. E. Dant Sep 7 '16 at 17:06
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Past simple would be possible in this sentence:

Person A: Did they eventually sign to a booking agency?
Person B: Yes, but after I stopped managing them.

After strongly defines the relationship between the two events, so it is not necessary to alter the tense to past perfect to define the order.

Before also strongly defines the relationship between the two events. You only need to use past perfect with words like when: without past perfect, the two events happened at the same time: with past perfect, one is pushed backwards before the other.

They signed to a booking agency when I stopped managing them - simultaneous

They signed to a booking agency when I had stopped managing them - had stopped is before signed

They had signed to a booking agency when I stopped managing them - had signed is before stopped

Note that I have kept the clauses in the same order in the three examples: normally the oldest clause would come first, so the clauses would be reversed in the second example.

  • I think this answer is better than the one I've cited as a duplicate (it's short and to the point), but the general principle is usually to keep the older question open, so I feel kinda forced into a position I don't fully endorse. I suspect there might be quite a few "Should I use Past Perfect here?" questions where all we actually need to do is drum into learners that if the context (through words like before, after, or whatever) clearly establishes temporal sequence, native speakers will tend to grab the opportunity to use a simpler verb tense. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Sep 7 '16 at 17:44

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