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Please check the following sentences. What are the differences between them?

1. How long have you lived in the UK before coming to the USA?
Must it be the situation that the person has just come to the USA?

2. How long did you live in the UK before coming to the USA?

3. How long had you lived in the UK before coming to the USA?

4. How long had you lived in the UK before you came to the USA?
Is the person who is asked this question living outside the USA now?

THANKS!
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1. How long have you lived in the UK before coming to the USA? -- not usable.

Must it be the situation that the person has just come to the USA?

2. How long did you live in the UK before coming to the USA? -- OK.

3. How long had you lived in the UK before coming to the USA? -- OK.

4. How long had you lived in the UK before you came to the USA? -- OK.

Is the person who is asked this question living outside the USA now? No. The speaker says "came". That indicates that he is in the U.S.

2, 3, and 4 all have the same meaning.

CJ
Comments  
3 and 4 are both correct. The constrcution of 1 and 2 are often used in conversations but not incorrect by rules.
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 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
Thank you for the answer.
CalifJim4. How long had you lived in the UK before you came to the USA? -- OK.
Is the person who is asked this question living outside the USA now? No. The speaker says "came". That indicates that he is in the U.S.
How would this sentence sound if he wasn't in the USA anymore?
Would it be: How long did you live in the UK before you came to the USA?
In this thread:
http://www.EnglishForward.com/English/DidYouLiveAndHaveYouLived/mczhx/post.htm

Cool Breeze says:
How long did you live there before coming here?
This is because the person you are talking to no longer lives "there".

Which explanation is right then?
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Hi,

Yes, indeed. You can have confidence in anything Cool Breeze tells you.Emotion: smile

Clive
Anonymous
CalifJim4. How long had you lived in the UK before you came to the USA? -- OK.Is the person who is asked this question living outside the USA now? No. The speaker says "came". That indicates that he [the speaker] is in the U.S. [Clarification: I mistakenly thought you were referring to the speaker.]
How would this sentence sound if he [the person who is asked the question] wasn't in the USA anymore?
Would it be: How long did you live in the UK before you came to the USA?It doesn't matter where the person who was asked the question is. It matters where the speaker is.

I suppose you'll want every combination and permutation, so here they are:

Speaker in US, listener in US:
How long [did you live / had you lived] in the UK before you came to the USA?

Speaker in US, listener not in US anymore:
How long [did you live / had you lived] in the UK before you came to the USA?

Speaker not in US, listener in US:
How long [did you live / had you lived] in the UK before you went to the USA?

Speaker not in US, listener not in US anymore:
How long [did you live / had you lived] in the UK before you went to the USA?

CJ

AnonymousIn this thread:http://www.EnglishForward.com/English/DidYouLiveAndHaveYouLived/mczhx/post.htmCool Breeze says:How long did you live there before coming here? This is because the person you are talking to no longer lives "there".Which explanation is right then?
What's your point? Cool Breeze answered a question about "have you lived". You're asking me a question about "had you lived". The two are not the same question. These are two different tenses.

CJ
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AnonymousCool Breeze says:
How long did you live there before coming here?
This is because the person you are talking to no longer lives "there".But as long as you are on the subject, we can reopen the question in the other post.

There the choice is between these:

1. How long have you lived there before coming here?
2. How long did you live there before coming here?

If I had answered that question I would have mentioned the rule that the present perfect (have lived) cannot be used together with a mention of definite time. A before clause qualifies as a mention of definite time. Therefore only Sentence 2 is correct.

The answer given by Cool Breeze is shown below in blue:

In English the past tense is used in your sentence: How long did you live there before coming here? This is because the person you are talking to no longer lives "there".

While it is true that the past tense is the correct choice, and not the present perfect, my view is that the reason given is wrong, and here is why:

The present perfect is wrong because of the before clause, no matter where the person you are talking to lives.

Suppose I live here. You come here and live here for two years and then return there. Now I'm here and you're there. In a phone conversation with you now I can still ask "How long did you live there before coming here?" and I still cannot ask "How long have you lived there before coming here?" But in this case you live "there"! In this case, we cannot say that the person I am talking to no longer lives "there" because you are actually there when I speak to you on the phone!

In summary, the choice between these two is made on the basis of grammar, that is, the before clause -- not on the basis of the geographical question of who lives where at the time the question is asked.

There are times when the location of the participants is important in choosing between sentences, for example, in the choice between come and go or between bring and take. But in a choice between a present perfect or a simple past when you have a before clause, you need not put your brain in a twist over who is where. The before clause signals that the simple past is needed.

CJ