2

"A famous footballer lived in our house before we bought it"

Why is this sentence correct? Is it a regular action in the past?

Why not "had lived"?

1 Answer 1

2

You are right that the past perfect had lived is possible there. But English speakers often do not bother to use the past perfect when the temporal relations are clear for other reasons; so lived is equally natural.

One effect of the choice is that if you used had lived, then you are focussing the sentence on the time when you bought it; if you use lived then you are not. In many cases this will not make any difference. But if you go on to say further things without specifying a time, if might make a difference.

A famous footballer had lived in our house before we bought it. There was a cupboard full of football memorabilia.

suggests that the cupboard was still full when we bought it, because the first sentence established the focus at the time when we bought it.

A famous footballer lived in our house before we bought it. There was a cupboard full of football memorabilia.

does not have this suggestion: it may be talking about when the footballer lived there.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .