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I have a sentence which I think is fine. But maybe I should change the second part from past simple to past perfect. It’s an entry on my website.
Please help.

July 2015: I organised my first family camp in suburbs of Moscow. At the same time I closed my own family centre that I opened a year earlier while I was on maternity leave.

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    Grammar checking websites noticed “the suburbs” and a comma before “while”. – Kate Jan 13 at 3:02
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    The phrase "my own" seems to imply that the family center was only for you somehow, the rest of the sentence makes it entirely clear that it was something you created. – trognanders Jan 13 at 3:38
  • "At the same time I closed the family center that I had opened a year earlier while I was on maternity leave". Even using also might be enough, "I also closed the family center that I started a year earlier" – trognanders Jan 13 at 3:41
  • Thank you! I was trying to emphasize that I created it. Maybe it’s too much indeed. – Kate Jan 13 at 3:42
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The sentence, as written, is understandable (although potentially ambiguous - see below). However, if it were me, I would make a couple of changes, to read:

"July 2015: I organised my first family camp in the suburbs of Moscow. At the same time, I closed the family centre that I had opened a year earlier[,] while I was on maternity leave."

Also, I would note that the sentence is ambiguous in that I do not know whether you opened the family centre while you were on maternity leave, or you closed the family centre while you were on maternity leave.

How to re-write it to resolve that ambiguity would depend on which of the two alternatives is correct. The addition of the comma that I have surrounded with square brackets leads to an implication that you closed the centre during the period of your maternity leave, whereas leaving the comma out implies that you opened the centre during your maternity leave, but both are relatively weak implications, and leave the reader somewhat uncertain.

Hope that helps,

Alan.

  • Thank you! I guess the question was whether I can leave “I opened” and not “I had opened”. I looked in Cambridge Advanced grammar and that’s what I found: “If the order of past events is clear from the context, we can often use either the past perfect or the past simple. E.g. the two leaders agreed to meet, even though earlier talks failed (or had failed) to reach an agreement.”. I also used the word earlier and therefore I guess past simple can be used in this sentence. Comma or no comma - I agree with Alan, its uncertain. But the idea was that I closed it during my maternity leave. – Kate Jan 13 at 12:03
  • It sounds better to me with the 'had' in there, but the meaning is not changed by the inclusion or omission of that word. – Alan Jan 14 at 10:58
  • Given that the centre was closed during your maternity leave, I would suggest: "July 2015: I organised my first family camp in the suburbs of Moscow. At the same time, while I was on maternity leave, I closed the family centre that I had opened a year earlier." Also worth noting that you could make it sound more formal by replacing 'while' with 'whilst'. Alan. – Alan Jan 14 at 11:01
  • Thanks for your suggestion. But I closed the centre not during my maternity leave. I opened it during maternity leave. But closed it in 2015. – Kate Jan 15 at 6:45
  • I understand that “had opened” sounds better, I was wondering if it’s grammatically ok to write “opened.” – Kate Jan 15 at 6:46

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