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In this past sentence:

I wanted to have a little time to myself before everybody else woke up at 7:00 am

Is "woke up" being used as simple past, past subjunctive, conditional or what? If it's in simple past, how could it be simple past if it hasn't happened yet? It might never happen, it's hypothetical.

  • 2
    Think of it as a backshift of I want to have a little time ... before everybody wakes up -- same tense as the main clause, but with a later time reference. – StoneyB Mar 9 '18 at 2:18
  • What makes you think it's a conditional? There is nothing predicated on whether or not everyone else will wake up at 7. – Andrew Mar 9 '18 at 3:18
  • @Andrew Maybe a subjunctive? – Luciano Mar 9 '18 at 9:57
  • Are you thinking of phrases from 19th and 18th century English where the subjunctive is used with ere and before, as in ere|before he see ? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 9 '18 at 13:51
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo after taking a look at the "modern" subjunctive form, it's written exactly the same way as the simple past. I'm considering to edit the question asking if it is a subjunctive past tense or a simple past. – Luciano Mar 9 '18 at 14:05

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