Before I have started the University I worked as waitress in a cafe.

I'm not sure about the tenses here (present perfect/past simple).

Maybe it should be

Before I started university I had worked as waitress in a cafe.

Anyway I'm still studying so that's why the doubts, it's not a closed action.

  • or maybe "Before I started university I had worked as waitress in a cafe." um anyway i'm still studying so thats why the doubts, it's not a closed action – Aleksa Lydiak Apr 7 '19 at 16:34
  • Hi Aleksa, and welcome to ELL! There's plenty of us here who are happy to help people learn, but we generally ask people to have more specific questions than just "is this right?". This isn't a proofreading service. What do you think it should be, and why are you unsure? If you can make your question more specific, then we can answer in a way that helps you to learn, or point you at an existing answer that might help. – SamBC Apr 7 '19 at 16:39
  • I'm not sure how to use the tenses in this case, which one is the correct...therefore I would like to get some explanation also :) I know it is not a proofreading sevice, I didn't just copy my homework to get a yes or no or something, I would like to get better but if it is problem then I will ask somehwere else thanks. – Aleksa Lydiak Apr 7 '19 at 17:02

When we start a sentence with the word before, we generally follow it with the past tense (in constructions such as yours).

Before I started....
Before he went ....
Before she sang....

This is true also for since.

So you would write:

Before I started AT (the) university....

If you wrote: Before I started the university it would mean that you were the founder of the university.

The second half of your sentence is correct:

Before I started at university, I worked as a waitress in a cafe.

Another way to say it is:

Before starting at the university, .....

In some circumstances, an option is to use the PAST PERFECT in the second clause. For example:

Before I started at university, I had worked as a waitress in a cafe and for some years after that I supported myself by walking people's dogs.

This makes it clear that the order of events is waitressing, followed by dog-walking, followed by university studies.

  • uh so in the end both version is ok, it's just up on me which one I choose I guess (both past simple, or for second sentence past perfect) or I could even say "Before I started studying at......." just to sound better. Thanks a lot for helping! – Aleksa Lydiak Apr 7 '19 at 17:45

Before I started at university I had worked as a waitress. Good sentence, the past perfect makes it clear the working occurred before university. However, when "before" and "after" are used in a sentence, the past perfect is not necessary, it is optional. Before I started at university, I worked as a waitress. Equally good sentence. So, the choice is up to you.


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