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Do you remember this question about past perfect:

Every band has a shelf life; BB had finally expired. We always felt excluded in many ways...

I was just wondering if I write this:

"BB finally expired because every band has a shelf life"

Is the link between both "events" just as strong as if I write:

"every band has a shelf life; BB had expired".

I mean, is the connection stronger with the past perfect? Or in the version with because?

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(1) Every band has a shelf life; BB had expired.
(2) BB finally expired because every band has a shelf life.

I don't think the connection gets stronger or is weakened, but the word because establishes a causal link (that is, it provides a reason that something happened).

The first version makes it seem like the demise of BB was inevitable; it was only a matter of time. The second version is attempting to explain why BB broke up.

SO, are you trying to assign a cause, or are you merely reflecting on a reality in a philosophical way?

Also, this construct gets tricky when the cause isn't true and accurate. Consider:

Everyone must die eventually; my grandfather passed in 1986.
My grandfather passed in 1986 because no one can live forever.

That second sentence sounds awkward, because mortality wasn't the cause of his death. It's not ungrammatical, but it's not very sensible, either. It would be better to say something like:

My grandfather passed in 1986 because he had a heart attack.

We can get around this by using a semi-colon:

My grandfather passed in 1986; no one can live forever.

In short, we are trying to associate a general truth with a specific instance. Of the two versions you've given, the first works well, and the second doesn't. BB didn't expire because every band has a shelf life; their "expiration" merely reinforced the notion that every band does have a shelf life (with the Rolling Stones being one notable exception).

  • ok but the example you gave are past simple, so let me change my question "Every band has a shelf life; BB finally expired" "Every band has a shelf life; BB had finally expired" Is the connection stronger in the second phrase with past perfect – user5577 Dec 13 '14 at 17:16
  • @user5577 - I don't think so. It's not a matter of "strength," it's a matter of which tense sounds right. I don't know where you got this sentence, but it sounds disjointed without the "had" in there. – J.R. Dec 14 '14 at 0:34
  • but why does it sound disjointed without the"had"is there any logical reason? – user5577 Dec 14 '14 at 7:10
  • For the same reason I wouldn't say: Everyone must die eventually; my grandfather had passed in 1986 – because there's no other past event we are referring to. Read more. – J.R. Dec 14 '14 at 10:02
  • But there is only one event "the expiration of the band"what is the other event the author is refering to ?The life of the band :it is obviously before the split... so no need for past perfect. – user5577 Dec 14 '14 at 10:16

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