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Hello,

A. He had served his people as president since 2005 until last year.
B. He served his people as president since 2005 until last year.

1. I think A with the past perfect is better, but is sentence B with the simple past also acceptable?
2. Is there a changed in meaning in sentence B from A?
3. If I omit the adverbial phrase 'since 2005 until last year' in sentence A, is 'had served' still OK?

Another example:

C. I had never seen him before I moved to Canada.
D. I never saw him before I moved to Canada.

4. Again, is sentence D with the simple past also acceptable?
5. Can we use 'never' or 'ever' with the simple past?

Thank you in advance.
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Neither sentence is well formed. Use these:

A. (X) He had served his people as president from 2005 until last year.
B. He served his people as president from 2005 until last year.

1. I think A with the past perfect is better, but is sentence B with the simple past also acceptable?-- Unless he is dead and the text mentions that or another past reference point, only B is possible.

2. Is there a changed in meaning in sentence B from A?-- No.

3. If I omit the adverbial phrase 'since 2005 until last year' in sentence A, is 'had served' still OK?-- No.

C. I had never seen him before I moved to Canada.
D. I never saw him before I moved to Canada.

4. Again, is sentence D with the simple past also acceptable?-- Since the order of past events is clear ('before'), D is preferred. C is used only when there is confusion about the order of events or when stress is required

5. Can we use 'never' or 'ever' with the simple past-- Yes, though it is more common with present perfect, I suppose.
Thanks a lot for your explanation.

Just a few additional questions below...

He was elected as president in 2005. Since then, the government had not encounter a similar graft and corruption problem again.

If the listener knows that the president you are talking about was the incumbent only until 2009, is it OK to use the past perfect tense?
By the way, can 'since' be used with the past perfect? Or only with the present pefect and the simple past?

Also, can 'until' be used with the past perfect?
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Sorry, I forgot to add this questions.

In your reply to #1 with sentence A, can't we consider the 'last year' as another past reference point?
If not, just for an example, could you add something to the sentence as another past reference point to make the past perfect possible?
He was elected president in 2005. Since then, the government has not encountered a similar graft and corruption problem.

If the listener knows that the president you are talking about was the incumbent only until 2009, is it OK to use the past perfect tense?-- You are confusing past perfect and present perfect.

By the way, can 'since' be used with the past perfect? -- Probably.

Also, can 'until' be used with the past perfect?-- Probably

In your reply to #1 with sentence A, can't we consider the 'last year' as another past reference point?-- No. It is co-terminous with the presidency.

If not, just for an example, could you add something to the sentence as another past reference point to make the past perfect possible?-- He had served his people as president from 2005 until last year when he was suddenly assassinated in April.
Again, thank you Mister Micawber for your answers to my questions.

Just one last question and I hope all will be clear to me after this.

He was elected president in 2005. Since then, the government had not encountered a similar graft and corruption problem until/before the new president was elected.

Is the past perfect correct with the added phrase?

If the listener knows there is already a new president or knows what's in the speakers mind (which is before the time a new president was elected), can we omit the underlined phrase and still used 'had not encountered'?
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'Until' means that the problem was encountered when or after the new president was elected; 'before' means that the problem was encountered when or before the new president was elected. So 'until' requires simple past and 'before' (since it makes the order of events clear) does not require past perfect.

But in any case, it is not a matter of what the listener knows-- it is a matter of grammatical structure. You cannot use the past perfect unless context presents a later past event.
Mister Micawber'Until' means that the problem was encountered when or after the new president was elected; 'before' means that the problem was encountered when or before the new president was elected. So 'until' requires simple past and 'before' (since it makes the order of events clear) does not require past perfect.
If I've understood your explanation correctly, the sentence will now either be:

He was elected president in 2005. Since then, the government did not encounter a similar graft and corruption problem until the new president was elected.

He was elected president in 2005. Since then, the government did not encounter (or had not encountered) a similar graft and corruption problem before the new president was elected.

With regard to your explanation with 'until' and 'before', I'm a bit confused. I wonder why there's a difference in meaning as to when the problem was encountered in the example. When I looked up in the dictionary, it seems 'until and 'before' have the same meaning. Could you please clarify?
This discussion is getting messy, and I'm not sure that I can sort out the until/before problem to either of our satisfactions. First, though, we still have to work on those sentences: 'since' in its usual use brings the action up to the present, so I think we must eliminate it entirely-- but I now think I didn't understand them before. Is 'he' the new president or the old president?!

He was elected president in 2005, and the government did not encounter a similar graft and corruption problem until the new president was elected.-- ( He's the old president?)

He was elected president in 2005, and the government had not encountered a similar graft and corruption problem until the new president was elected.-- ( He's the new president?)

Simplified, 'before' no longer works for me. But frankly, I think we need to start all over again with a new set of sentences.
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