1

One rule about past perfect that I've been taught is that

If the sequence is clear, the usage of past perfect or simple past is optional.

For example, I had eaten the cookies, and then I went to bed to sleep.

The sequence is clear (marked by then).

But, I'm not quite sure about after and before. Examples:

  • I had stopped playing game before my mother came.
  • I stopped playing game before my mother came.

Are they both grammatical because the adverbial (before my mother came) shows the sequence?

And for after:

  • After I had played the game, my mother came.
  • After I played the game, my mother came.

I just want it to be clear, can "Before" and "after" allow or forbid the usage of the past perfect?

  • 1
    The time phrases do not forbid the use of the past perfect. Clear time phrase simply make the past perfect unnecessary in many instances. Simple past is OK in your last example. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 24 '16 at 12:39
0

"Before" and "after" clearly show the order in which events took place. Using past perfect in such situations is not forbidden but considered unnecessary. In other words, you can use both the past perfect or the past simple, but the past simple is preferred. So these sentences are fine.

I stopped playing game before my mother came. After I played the game, my mother came.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.