1

1/

  • Did he paint the wall before his friend came?
    (OR)
  • Did he paint the wall before his friend come?

2/

  • Had he painted the wall before his friend came?
    (OR)
  • Had he painted the wall before his friend come?

2 Answers 2

1

For all "standard" varieties of English, only before he came is valid. But you will sometimes hear come in similar "Past Tense" contexts in the UK...

1: We were in the pub last night when this guy come over and picked a fight with us

It's worth noting that although the first highlighted verb there looks like an "Unmarked Infinitive" (the non-inflected "base" form, but without the "infinitive marker" to), it's probably better analysed as just a different pronunciation of Past Tense came. I say that because you'll also sometimes hear the true "Present Tense used as Past" version used consistently...

2: ...when this guy comes over and picks a fight with us <==Ungrammatical, but not uncommon

...but I doubt I've ever heard the permutation comes + picked. And although both the above sound perfectly "natural" to me (albeit quite obviously "ungrammatical"), I can't say the same for #1 with other verbs. For example, I'm sure I've never heard either of...

3: * ...when this guy walk over and picked a fight with us <==VERY non-idiomatic!
4: * ...when this guy walks over and picked a fight with us <==VERY non-idiomatic!

Note that #1 and #2 above are primarily associated with uneducated speakers (or [semi-]facetious imitation thereof) - it's not particularly associated with any specific regional dialects.


TL;DR: The only "grammatically correct" version is...

5: We were in the pub last night when this guy came over and picked a fight with us

But "uneducated" native speakers often use Present as Past. And with certain specific verbs (come / came, run / ran), some people just enunciate the Present tense version even when they're using the explicit Past form with other verbs

-1

About part number one of your question:

I've just searched for sentences like these in literature and found no one with "come" but with "came" found some examples:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sense_and_Sensibility :

"Did you see them off, before you came away?"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maia_(novel) :

"Did you know Occula before you came to Bekla?"

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8713217-the-eden-legacy :

‘Did you ever get to Gori before the Russians came?’ he asked Davit, in Georgian.

About second part of your question:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duty_and_Desire :

Had Georgiana warned him before he came up?

https://books.google.de/books/about/The_Godling_Chronicles.html?id=1UnGNAEACAAJ&redir_esc=y :

Had I found out before I had come to know the boy, I am unsure how I would have reacted.”

So as I can see by examples from literature you need to use version with "came" in this situation or use "had come" like last example.

2
  • Too many 'examples from literature', not enough explanation. Dec 19, 2019 at 22:46
  • I think, examples are useful too, this answer maybe have poor explanation, but give people base for thinking about problem.
    – sayfriend
    Dec 20, 2019 at 3:23

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