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Before we had finished our meal he ordered us back to work.

Using the past perfect after 'before' sounds strange to me. What does this sentence mean here?

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Omar Ahmed

Before we had finished our meal he ordered us back to work.

Using the past perfect after 'before' sounds strange to me. What does this sentence mean here?

It's a natural sentence in English, though I suppose it looks a little illogical if you look at it too closely. They did not have time to finish their meal before they were ordered to return to work.

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Omar AhmedWhat does this sentence mean here?

We were eating our meal. He ordered us back to work, so we never did finish eating our meal.

Omar AhmedUsing the past perfect after 'before' sounds strange to me.

It sounds strange to quite a few learners of English, but it's actually fairly common.

See past perfect in dependent clause
See before past perfect tense , past tense

CJ

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It need a comma to mark the inversion:

Before we had finished our meal, he ordered us back to work.

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Does it mean "I ordered them before the moment of finishing the meal'?

Omar Ahmed

Does it mean "I ordered them before the moment of finishing the meal'?

Yes.

The plan was to have the meal from [ to ] in the diagram below, but the order to go back to work was at X, so they could not finish their meal.

- - - - - - - [ - - - - - - - - - - -|- - - - - ] - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - X- - - - - - - - - - - - -

CJ

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