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Does 'until' express a period of time before the specific time in the past which can be used in the Past Perfect:

I had wanted to be a doctor until I was 15.

or it is better to use Past Simple?

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    The first, IMO. Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 20:50
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    Which do you think is "correct", and why? Without more information this question will be closed as off-topic.
    – Andrew
    Commented Nov 11, 2017 at 0:42
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    Better "before I turned 15" and Past Simple is still better. Commented Nov 11, 2017 at 9:37

2 Answers 2

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The question is whether "until" can be used with the Past Perfect.

I had wanted to be a doctor until I was 15

or

I wanted to be a doctor until I was 15

The "until" and the Past Perfect are providing similar types of information: that the event lasted from Time A to Time B - both of which were in the past.

The choice of Simple Past seems preferable because it's simpler and clearer. Using the Past Perfect is more wordy and verbose.

Depending on the surrounding context, there might be some reasons to choose the Past Perfect, but otherwise you don't have to. "Can it be used in the Past Perfect?". yes...

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Yes, until implies "up to that point".


Obama was president until Trump won the election.


When I was 15, Bill Clinton was president.


I wanted to be a doctor until I was 15.

(From age 0 to 15, I wanted to be a doctor)


I wanted to be a doctor when I was 15.

(From age 15 to 15, I wanted to be a doctor.)

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