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  1. "I felt a little better after I had taken the medicine" <--by Google search, it has about 2,820 results

VS

  1. "I felt a little better after I took the medicine" <--by Google search, it has only 10 results (but this sentence is from Longman grammar book)

Question
1. Two sentences are the same meaning, if not why?
2. Is the first sentence more useful than another one because of google search results, if yes why??

1

The two sentences have the same literal meaning, but may intend a slight difference in nuance. The use of the past perfect emphasizes the sequence of events and at least suggests a causal relationship.

You do not need to use the past perfect to indicate the sequence of past actions if that sequence is clear from other means such as use of "after" or "before." When writing an obituary that starts "X died on June 18, 2019, after a long illness," it is not necessary to follow that with "He had been born in 1938 in Warsaw" because it is screamingly obvious that he was born before he died.

The two main uses of the past perfect are in extended passages where sequence is both material and not necessarily obvious or where the intent is to stress the exact sequence of events, frequently to imply causation.

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