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The Simple Past & The Past Perfect Tenses

Here are the questions I found when I was doing grammar exercise. There are three questions here. I've made the mistake of the sentense on purpose.

1. Before he had gone (go) to England, he never flew (never fly) in an aeroplane.

This sentense is wrong. The 'had gone' part is wrong. According to the answer, it should be 'went'. And for as for my question, why can't we put 'had gone'?

2. He had drunk (drink) a glass of fruit juice before he had (have) his dinner.

This sentense is wrong too. The 'had drunk' part is wrong. It should be 'drank'. I'm very curious, why can't we put 'had drunk' and why we must put 'drank' only?

3. The problem had proven (prove) to be much more difficult than any of us thought (think).

The 'had proven' part is wrong. The answer shows that it should be just a simple past tense. So, the answer should be 'proved'. Still the same, why can't we put 'had proven'?

Anyone please answer my question. Thank you.
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Hi Tankshe

1. The reason that you should use "went" and "had (never) flown" is because "had (never) had" is further in the past than "went to England". Presumably "went to England" and "flew for the first time" happened at the same time in the past. If you used "never flew" instead, that could be misinterpreted as a reference to activities that happen with some degree of regularity (i.e. he never flew regularly).

2. "Had drunk" isn't completely wrong, it's just completely unnecessary because the order of the two past events is crystal clear in the sentence.

3. In this case, "proved" is something that happened after "thought". In this sentence, the idea is that first we thought (expected) the problem to have X degree of difficulty. Later (in the end) we realized that the problem was more difficult than that. This final realization came at the same time that the original expectation ended.
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There are four possibilities. Not all of them are correct.
Note: The anterior event is in the main clause of the first two sentences. It's in the than clause of the third sentence.

1. Both clauses in the simple past.

Before he went to England, he never flew in an airplane.
He drank a glass of fruit juice before he had his dinner.
The problem proved to be much more difficult than any of us thought (before / previously).

2. Both clauses in the past perfect.

Before he had gonet to England, he had never flown in an airplane.
He had drunk a glass of fruit juice before he had had his dinner.
The problem had proven to be much more difficult than any of us had thought (before / previously).

3. anterior event in the past perfect; other event in the simple past.

Before he went to England, he had never flown in an airplane.
He had drunk a glass of fruit juice before he had his dinner.
The problem proved to be much more difficult than any of us had thought (before / previously).

4. anterior event in the simple past; other event in the past perfect.

Before he had gone to England, he never flew in an airplane.
He drank a glass of fruit juice before he had had his dinner.
The problem had proven to be much more difficult than any of us thought (before / previously).

Group 4 is the group where they are wrong. The others are all possible.

CJ
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