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I posted a similar question before but it did not get published. So I hope 2nd time lucky.

This is a question about tenses - Past Perfect & Simple Past

Sequence of events:

(supposed to finished packing, say 3:00pm, but didn't) then
(van arrived at 4:00pm) then
(finished packing at 4:30pm).

Which of the following two sentences better described the sequence of events.

1: The removal van arrived before they had finished packing.
2: The removal van HAD arrived before they finished packing.

The first one is supposed to be the correct one according to http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar/simpas-pasper/exercises?ex07 (Question 1)

In a similar situation, could I agree there are no ACTUAL differences in the meaning of following two sentences, both clearly explain the sequence of events:

Home work done > Go out to play
1: When Monica finished her homework, she went out to play with her friends.
2: When Monica HAD finished her homework, she went out to play with her friends.
Comments  
Noah LeeWhich of the following two sentences better describes the sequence of events?

1: The removal van arrived before they had finished packing.
2: The removal van HAD arrived before they finished packing.

The first one is supposed to be the correct one ...
The first is very idiomatic, so it's not surprising it was tagged as correct, even though it contains a use of the past perfect which may be somewhat puzzling.

This sort of pattern of tenses often occurs when a before-clause contains a situation that did not reach its completion, but was interrupted by the situation given in the main clause. In this specific case "they had finished packing" did not really occur (at the time of the arrival of the van). The 'interruption' of the attempt to finish the packing was "the removal van arrived".

For further details, see Past Perfect Tense W/O TIME Reference

Follow the link at the bottom of that post for even more details.

CJ
Hi

Thank you for the reply and the link to some previous postings.

So if I use the second version "The removal van HAD arrived before they finished packing. ", would it be a "correct" option without sounding odd to native speakers or natives would distinctively go for Sentence 1 as a matter of habit.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Noah LeeSo if I use the second version "The removal van HAD arrived before they finished packing. ", would it be a "correct" option without sounding odd to native speakers
It would not raise any eyebrows. (~ It would not disturb anyone.) It's quite understandable that way. It's correct.
Noah Leenatives would distinctively instinctively go for Sentence 1 as a matter of habit.
Yes. This would be the first choice of most natives.

CJ
Dear CJ

Many thanks for your help. Also for pointing out the wrong choice of word.

By the way, have you considered writing a book on confusing issues in English grammar and have it published?
Noah LeeBy the way, have you considered writing a book on confusing issues in English grammar and have it published?
Yes, but only for about a half a second every year or so. Emotion: big smile

I'm too busy with other things!

Maybe. Some day. Who knows? Emotion: smile

CJ
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Hi CJ,
I also think that would be a great idea! Emotion: smile I suggest that you take your courage in both hands and do it. Why not?

Good luck, anyway!

Regards