I was doing the exercise on putting verbs in appropriate tenses when I stumbled upon the following sentence:

Ann (postpone) making the beds until she (do) the shopping. An hour later, when she returned...

The whole story is in the past so I guess the first should be simply 'postponed'. As for the second, I know we can't use the future after 'until', so 'would do the shopping' (shifting 'will' into 'would' as the text is in the past) is incorrect too. Should I emphasise the action and use past perfect? This would let me illustrate that 'going shopping' is to happen earlier than 'making the beds'. Or is it again correct to use past simple because (it seems to me that) there are no obvious reasons for using a perfect tense?

I'm completely at a loss so I would be grateful for any hint.

  • No, will (would) isn't used at all after until in a context like yours, in the same way I'll do it when I'll have time sounds unnatural. Take a look at an example sentence from the OLD website: Let's wait until the rain stops. If you recast the whole sentence into the past, you get We waited until the rain stopped. However, if you wish to emphasize that a task has been completed, use the perfect tenses. I'm not a native speaker of English, mind.
    – user3395
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 11:38

1 Answer 1


You could use

Ann postponed making the beds until she did the shopping

and that would be fine, but

Ann postponed making the beds until she had done the shopping

sounds better to me. However

Ann postponed making the beds until she would go shopping

makes no sense at all.

Source: I'm a native speaker, though I don't know the definitions of "past perfect tense" or "past simple tense".


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