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Dear teachers,

1) Would you please tell me which sentences (in the following print) are incorrect, and if sentences [1) a)] are in the subjunctive?

2) Is there a difference in meaning between sentences [1) a)] and [2)] ?

ex A: 1) a) He did not wait until we had finished our meal.

and not: b) “He had not waited until we finished our meal.” ?

2) He did not wait until we finished our meal.

ex B: 1) a) Before we had finished our meal he ordered us back to work.

and not: b) “He had ordered us back to work before we finished our meal. / c) Before we finished our meal he had ordered us back to work.” ?

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

ex C: 1) a) Before we had walked ten miles he complained of sore feet.

and not: b) “He had complained of sore feet before we walked ten miles. / c) Before we walked ten miles he had complained of sore feet.” ?

2) Before we walked ten miles, he complained of sore feet.

ex D: 1) a) He refused to go until he had seen all the pictures.

and not: b) “He had refused to go until he saw all the pictures. / c) He had not gone until he saw all the pictures.” ?

2) He refused to go until he saw all the pictures.

I hope I've been clear enough, otherwise I'll try again.

Best regards,

Hela
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Hi Hela,

All the A's and a's are a little confusing, but let me see:

ex A:

1) a) He did not wait until we had finished our meal. CORRECT BUT REDUNDANT-- 'UNTIL' INDICATES PRECEDENCE.

b) He had not waited until we finished our meal. ACCEPTABLE IN LIMITED CONTEXT: 'He had not waited until we finished our meal; that is why we had to shoot him'.

2) He did not wait until we finished our meal. CORRECT.

ex B:

1) a) Before we had finished our meal, he ordered us back to work. CORRECT BUT REDUNDANT-- 'BEFORE' INDICATES PRECEDENCE.

b) He had ordered us back to work before we finished our meal. ACCEPTABLE IN A LIMITED CONTEXT: 'He had ordered us back to work before we finished our meal; that is why we had to shoot him'.

c) Before we finished our meal, he had ordered us back to work. INCORRECT-- IT IS A NON-STANDARD RECASTING OF B1b.

2) Before we finished our meal, he ordered us back to work. CORRECT.

ex C:

1) a) Before we had walked ten miles, he complained of sore feet. CORRECT.

b) He had complained of sore feet before we walked ten miles. ACCEPTABLE IN LIMITED CONTEXT: 'He had complained of sore feet before we walked ten miles; that is why we had to shoot him'.

c) Before we walked ten miles he had complained of sore feet. INCORRECT-- A NON-STANDARD RECASTING OF C1b.

2) Before we walked ten miles, he complained of sore feet. CORRECT BUT 1a IS PREFERABLE TO MAKE CLEAR THAT THE WALKING CAME FIRST.

ex D:

1) a) He refused to go until he had seen all the pictures. CORRECT

b) He had refused to go until he saw all the pictures. ACCEPTABLE IN A LIMITED CONTEXT: 'He had refused to go until he saw all the pictures; that is why we had to shoot him'.

c) He had not gone until he saw all the pictures. INCORRECT; I CANNOT EVEN THINK OF A SENTENCE TO INSERT IT INTO.

2) He refused to go until he saw all the pictures. CORRECT.

Hela, you are liable to get other responses, but that is how I see them. In all your cases, (1a) and (2) are essentially equivalent, and that is one of the main reasons that the past perfect is dying out of the language-- other words or context usually serve the purpose well enough of indicating which came first. Of your examples, only C1a serves its purpose of making this relationship clear.

None of these sentences have any relation to the subjunctive. Are you thinking of the conditional? Conditional III is the place perhaps where the past perfect will survive longest: 'If I had been born a prince, I would have lived in a palace'.
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Thank you Mister Micawber for you answer. I'll study it carefully and I'll come back to you in case I still have some difficulties.

Best wishes,
Hela

In answer to the first question, the sentence is clarified if you say, "He did not wait until after we had finished our meal."