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Is this sentence grammatically correct?

When I was last there, he hadn't arrived by then.

Should 'by then' be used if a sentence already has 'when'? And if it can't be used, then what would be the correct structure of the sentence?

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  • Do you mean "By the time I left, he hadn't arrived"? Commented Jul 17, 2021 at 23:29

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Regardless of grammar, it doesn't make logical sense. Then has to refer to a specific time.

I last checked at five o'clock, and he hadn't arrived by then.

...but we can say

When I was last there, he hadn't arrived yet/ he still hadn't arrived.

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    "Then" refers to "when I was last there". Makes logical sense to me, even if it's not great otherwise
    – gotube
    Commented Jul 17, 2021 at 19:08

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