Combination of past simple and past perfect.

Ivan_I

Senior Member
Russian
I know this one is correct.

1) Jane went to the zoo before she had finished reading her new book about elephants.

What if we switch the tenses? Would the bew sentence mean something different?

2) Jane had gone to the zoo before she finished reading her new book about elephants.
 
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    There is a slight difference. In the first sentence, we know that Jane hadn't finished her book when she went to the zoo. We don't know if she has now finished it. In the second sentence we know that she has both gone to the zoo and finished her book.
     

    Ivan_I

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thanky you.For the sake of curiocity, is this possible?

    Jane had gone to the zoo before she had finished reading her new book about elephants.
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Yes, provided that it is used to show anteriority to a surrounding story in the simple past.
    Jane was surprised by what she observed in the elephant enclosure - she had gone to the zoo before she had finished her book about elephants.
     

    Ivan_I

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Well, the last possible combination here is:
    Jane went to the zoo before she finished reading her new book about elephants.

    What does it mean?
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Jane went to the zoo, and then later finished her book. The difference between this one and the first one is that with this one we know that she has now finished the book.
     

    Ivan_I

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thank you. Is it correct to think that:

    2) Jane had gone to the zoo before she finished reading her new book about elephants. = 4) Jane went to the zoo before she finished reading her new book about elephants.
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Yes, I don't see any significant difference there, although the use of the past perfect could suggest that the zoo visit was what provoked her to finish the book.
     
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