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Hello, everyone:

The children had all gone to sleep at 9 o'clock last night.

This is a sentence I saw in a grammar book. I wonder if it is a good/correct sentence. If it's correct, then how does it differ from "The children all went to sleep at 9 o'clock last night."?

Please give me your opinions about it, thank you!!
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Hi,

The children had all gone to sleep at 9 o'clock last night. This could mean the children began to sleep at 9, or it could mean the children began to sleep before 9.

This is a sentence I saw in a grammar book. I wonder if it is a good/correct sentence. If it's correct, then how does it differ from "The children all went to sleep at 9 o'clock last night."? The children began to sleep at 9.
Clive
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ViceidolThe children had all gone to sleep at 9 o'clock last night ....
"The children all went to sleep at 9 o'clock last night."The difference is in the context. No context is given, so we imagine a different context for each sentence that allows us to make sense of it. To understand the difference you need to understand the idea of the "timeline" of a story -- a "line" in time which is created by telling a story.

George left the house. Then he got into his car. Then he drove to work. Then he got out of his car. Then he walked to his office on the second floor. ...
Do you see how a story sets up a line in time? First one thing happens; then another; then another. The events are told in the order in which they occur.
You're not going to mix up the events of your story like this:
George drove to work. Then he left the house. Then he walked to his office on the second floor. Then he got into his car.
That would be a totally incomprehensible mess!
So we usually tell a story in the same order in which it occurred, staying on the "timeline".

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But sometimes we want to mention something that happened before the story even started. We want to leave the timeline of the story for a little while to explain something we haven't explained yet, or may have forgotten to mention earlier.
In this case we alert the listener that we are going backwards in time by using the past perfect.
George got out of his car. Then he walked to his office on the second floor. He had left the house and driven to work earlier than usual that day.
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Viceidolhow does it differ ?
So, to repeat the point more briefly, the two differ by having been extracted from two different (imagined) contexts.
The children got ready for bed. They went to sleep at 9. They slept well. They woke up refreshed the next morning and ate breakfast.
The children woke up refreshed and ate breakfast. They had gone to sleep at 9 and had slept well. Now they were ready for school.
The simple past shows that the event is being told in its natural order in time.
The past perfect shows that the event is not being told in its natural order. It's a temporary deviation from the main timeline.
CJ

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Comments  
Thank you, Clive and Jim. Your explanation is very helpful to me!
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