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Alex ____ no sooner learnt to drive than he bought a car.
A) has
B) had
C) no word
D) b and c

Which is the correct choice here? I said B but the teacher said D is correct and I can't find any similar examples where we remove the (auxiliary?) verb had.

1 Answer 1

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Your teacher is right; we can use "no sooner" with any tense, including simple past tense:

Alex no sooner learnt to drive than he bought a car.

(Note to American users like me: "learnt" is the common British past tense of "learn," as well as the perfect.)

Note, though, that many sources mention that "it is often used with the past perfect" ("had learnt"), so the answer you chose has common practice to support it.

Note, also, that you have to include the auxiliary verb if you rearrange the sentence to put "no sooner" at the beginning:

(wrong): No sooner Alex learnt to drive than he bought a car.
(right): No sooner had Alex learnt to drive than he bought a car.

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