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The tense of a verb in the subordinate clause changes in accordance with the tense of the verb in the main clause.

I think the tense of a verb in the main clause changes in accordance with the context of the passage as a whole.

But, in this sentence below, it seems as though the tense of the verb in the main clause is changing in accordance with the tense of the verb in the subordinate clause:

Before I went to school, I had eaten a big breakfast.

Does this mean that the tense of verb in a subordinate clause can sometimes have a bearing on the tense of the verb in the main clause?
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Hi English 1b3

I agree with you that the context of a passage as a whole can play a part in the tense choice of the main clause.

As a simple statement of fact, in a text that basically recounts things in the order they happened, I'd prefer your sentence written this way:

- Before I went to school, I ate a big breakfast.

(I like Ray's wording even better, though.)

However, in a narrative the past perfect may sometimes be more appropriate. If there has already been narration about some things that happened after you arrived at school, and then the author goes back and mentions having had a big breakfast (maybe as important explanatory backgound information for something that happened later), then I can easily imagine the past perfect turning up in the main clause of that sentence.
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English 1b3Before I went to school, I had eaten a big breakfast.
I cant' think of a situation where I would consider this correct, it should be "...I ate a big..." even better would be "Before I left for school I ate a big breakfast."
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The sentence is from this site:

http://www.myenglishteacher.net/pastperfecttense.html

Can you explain why you think it is wrong, please?

And do you have any thoughts regarding my initial question, not the sentence itself?
 Yankee's reply was promoted to an answer.
Yankee agree with you that the context of a passage as a whole can play a part in the tense choice of the main clause.

What else is considered then? Am I right to say the subordinate clause has some influence? I asked this question elsewhere and the responder said only the context of the whole passage influences the tense of the main clause. [:^)]
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Well, as I see it, context within the sentence itself will also influence things.

You took your example from a website that was attempting to illustrate what the use of the past perfect will achieve, how it works on a timeline. That goal in itself is context, and it obviously had an influence on their decision to use the past perfect in that sentence.

If I looked at that same sentence simply as a stand-alone sentence on a blank sheet of paper, for example, I would see no need at all to use the past perfect because the word "before" is more than adequate to establish which activity happened first. I don't need the past perfect for that. But the the context of a narrative that might be jumping back and forth in time, the past perfect will help the reader follow the time sequence.