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Hello everyone. I have a question.

Regarding the following sentence:

As it had rained that night, I could not observe the moon.

I don't quite understand why the past perfect is used in this sentence. I've come up with an answer to this question, but I'm uncertain whether or not it is right. Could you please comment on my thought? --

Here, for example, the speaker had expected that he could observe the moon that night because it was sunny in the morning. Unfortunately, however, the weather got cloudy in the afternoon and it even started to rain in the early evening. The sky was covered with dark clouds that night that the observation he had planned could never been done.

In this situation, the weather was fine enough in the morning, but before the night came, it had changed into a state where one could never observe the moon. I think that the speaker expresses "the change of state" by using the past perfect tense. What do you think?

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"had rained" simply indicates that the rain had already stopped by the time you planned to observe the moon. Remember, the past perfect marks the earlier of two events/actions.

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Comments  

I'd say that the writer used the wrong tense. His sentence says that the rain came before he tried to observe the moon. I can't think of any effect the rain could have had that would have prevented him from doing that. If the sentence was "As it had rained that night, there were puddles on the ground", that would make sense. I would have written "As it was raining that night, I could not observe the moon."

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 Ivanhr's reply was promoted to an answer.
anonymous I can't think of any effect the rain could have had that would have prevented him from doing that.

It's possible there were still many clouds in the sky even after the rain had stopped.

Ivanhr
anonymous I can't think of any effect the rain could have had that would have prevented him from doing that.

It's possible there were still many clouds in the sky even after the rain had stopped.

Of course, but the sentence is still illogical. The writer obviously failed to say what he meant, that it was raining at the time he would otherwise have observed the moon, because of his wrong use of tense.

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Rain doesn't fall from clear skies, so it is understood that there was cloud cover. Had there been no rain and the moon was not visible, the sentence could read,

"As it became cloudy that night, I was unable to observe the moon."

Whether it rained all night or just during the specific time frame the person planned on observing the moon is immaterial. The rain prevented the person from observation of the moon.

I understand. Thank you very much for your answer, Ivanhr.

May I ask you an additional question?

The question I posted several hours ago is related to a grammatical question given in a university entrance examination:

Q: Choose the right one and fill the blanket.

( ) that night, we could not observe the moon.

(A) Having rained (B) It was raining (C) It having rained (D) Raining

* The correct answer is (C).

I'm pretty sure that "It having rained that night, we could not observe the moon" can be paraphrased as "As it had rained that night, we could not observe the moon." However, some people say that these two sentences don't make sense. They say that they should be written as "It raining that night, we could not observe the moon" and "As it was raining that night, we could not observe the moon," respectively.

What is your take on this issue?

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Thank you so much, Anonymous, for your answer and comment. I've learned a lot.

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