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I'm in doubt whether it is correct to use Past Perfect in sentences starting with "Until recently", such as in this phrase:
Until recently, I hadn't flown by planes.

OR
I hadn’t flown on planes until recently when I had no option but fly for business to our clients who are several thousand miles away

In my view, that's ok because I'm talking about a period of time (the whole life) before an event in the past, which is referred to by "until recently". However, I did a bit of reseach on Google and found out that in similar cases either Present Perfect or Past Simple is used:
  • Up until recently that has been our problem and we've not been able to ...
  • Until now, the biggest complaints about eating tuna right out of a can have been that it doesn't have much taste, or it smells like cat food.
  • Until recently, she did voluntarily work at her local school.
  • The questions are short and simple, but they are profound, and until recently they were almost unanswerable.
Your help in clarifying this issue would be very much appreciated Emotion: smile
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Hi,
I'm in doubt whether it is correct to use Past Perfect in sentences starting with "Until recently", such as in this phrase:
Until recently, I hadn't flown by planes.

OR
I hadn’t flown on planes until recently when I had no option but fly for business to our clients who are several thousand miles away

In my view, that's ok because I'm talking about a period of time (the whole life) before an event in the past, which is referred to by "until recently".
Yes, Past Perfect is fine. But it is often not used in cases where 'time words' like before/after/until recently make the sequence clear anyway. The Simple Past is often used instead.

However, I did a bit of reseach on Google and found out that in similar cases either Present Perfect or Past Simple is used: Present Perfect is also OK. It just suggests that the speaker is thinking of 'until recently' as beiing very, very close to the present time.
  • Up until recently that has been our problem and we've not been able to ... OK
  • Until now, the biggest complaints about eating tuna right out of a can have been that it doesn't have much taste, or it smells like cat food. With 'until now', I wouldn't use Past Perfect.
  • Until recently, she did voluntarily work at her local school. OK
  • The questions are short and simple, but they are profound, and until recently they were almost unanswerable. OK
Clive
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Clive will have his own comments as well, but in the meantime, I think you can solve that problem with a comma.

Normally until he relocated, we used to see each other quite regularly, but since then I’ve seen him only once, when he spent his holiday in Russia.

In the case without the comma you would be saying that (since then) you've only seen him once during the time when he spent his holiday in Russia. That is clearly a misuse of the present perfect with a when-clause.

With the comma the when-clause simply elaborates the meaning of once, i.e., (since then) you've only seen him once, and that one time was when he spent his holiday in Russia. Here there is no problem with the combination of present perfect with the when-clause.

CJ
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Hi Clive,
thanks a lot for your elaborate answer!

Could you also dispell my doubts over this quite similar, however, more complicated and confusing phase:

Normally until he relocated, we used to see each other quite regularly, but since then I’ve seen him only once when he spent his holiday in Russia.
I suspect that it's somehow wrong to mix when-clause with Present Perfect. The idea I'd like to convey is this:
Normally until he relocated, we used to see each other quite regularly, but since then I’ve seen him only once. To be more specific, I caught up with him last summer when he spent his holiday in Russia
 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
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Hi,

I have the same opinion as CJ.

With 'we used to . . . regularly', do you think you also need the word 'normally'? It doesn't seem to add much at all.

Clive